Three golds and two silvers for Team GB on ‘Magic Monday’ at Tokyo Olympics

Britain’s Olympians soared and awed on a Magic Monday in Tokyo, winning three golds in just five hours.

Adam Peaty, Team GB’s banker in these Olympics, retained his 100m breaststroke title in the small hours of the UK morning, becoming the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title. And as diver Tom Daley wept tears of joy on the podium, his gold medal ambitions – alongside Matty Lee – finally realised after 13 jare, en Tom Pidcock claimed surprise mountain bike glory, a smouldering opening couple of days for Team GB suddenly caught fire on day three.

All told, there were five medals for Team GB across 13 hours of action, with a glorious day bookended by an early-morning silver for triathlete Alex Yee and a late-night silver for taekwondo star Lauren Williams.

On a day that carried echoes of London 2012’s Super Saturday en Rio 2016’s Sensational Sunday, it was Daley’s gold alongside Lee in the 10m synchronised platform in Tokyo that tugged hardest on the heartstrings.

It had been a long time in the making – Daley’s career has faced numerous twists and turns inside and outside the water. But after missing out as a precocious 14-year-old competing in Beijing, and hoping for more than bronze medals in London and Rio, he was understandably delighted after a nerveless final dive sealed victory over the Chinese pair, Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen.

Afterwards Daley, 27, revealed that he had needed surgery just two months ago after tearing the meniscus in his knee. He also said he hoped his performance would inspire other young LGBT athletes.

It was far less of a surprise to see Peaty add another Olympic title in a time of 57.37 seconds, the fifth fastest time in the event’s history over two lengths. Not only is he unbeaten in the 100m breaststroke in major competitions in more than seven years, he is also the only man who has ever been quicker.

After swearing in delight live on the BBC – and quickly apologising – the 26-year-old said his wife, Eiri, had written him a letter that he had carried with him to Tokyo and read before his final.

“It said: ‘This is what it is all about,’” he said. “This is why I have been training three times a day, giving everything, this is why I do it. Die 99.99% of the time we spend in the dark is for the 0.01% we spend in the light.”

But a sensational day for Team GB was far from over, as Pidcock broke clear on the final lap to win the country’s first ever medal in mountain biking. The 21-year-old – who took advantage of an early crash by the big favourite, Mathieu van der Poel – admitted it had been a struggle to come back after breaking his collarbone in May.

“I haven’t done a good race since," hy het gesê. “I’ve trained really hard, I knew I was in great shape, but there’s always doubt when I haven’t performed in a race. But once the race started, I knew I was in a good place. The heat, ek bedoel, obviously I didn’t feel good, but everyone just told me: no one will feel good.”

“I know that my mum and girlfriend are crying at home," hy het bygevoeg. “It’s sad that they can’t be here, but I’ll see them when I get home.”

The day was bookended by two silvers for Team GB that were nearly golds. Early on, Yee led in the final stages of the men’s triathlon only for the Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt to power clear towards the finish. The race will also be remembered for an inflatable boat packed with photographers that floated across the start line just as the klaxon to begin went off, causing chaos and a restart. Yee had already swum 150m.

At the end of the Tokyo day, Williams took silver in the 67kg taekwondo. Like Bradly Sinden the day before, Williams was leading with seconds to spare, maar lost to Matea Jelić of Croatia. “I had her, 10 seconds, I just let it go … I made a mistake and let it go. It’s on me,” Williams said. “I went out there to win and tried my best but it didn’t happen on the day. I am very happy with how I performed but it’s a shame she got it. An Olympic silver medal is not bad, is it?”

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