Team GB hailed for producing ‘greatest Olympic achievement’

Chef de Mission Mark England hailed “the greatest achievement in British Olympic history” after final-day golds for Jason Kenny and Lauren Price brought Team GB’s final medal tally for the Tokyo Olympics to 65.

Great Britain's Laura Kenny with the Union Jack flag (Picture: PA)

The total matched the number of medals earned at their home Olympics in London in 2012 and is only two short of the Rio total, smashing the lower-end target of 51 from Beijing in 2008.

England said: “Following Beijing we had no idea that British athletes would deliver 65 medals in London. We knew we were in great shape for Rio but it had never been done before, matching and then surpassing London’s number of medals.

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“I just think that finishing this Games with two gold medals, and for this team to deliver 65 medals is absolutely extraordinary.

Flag bearer Laura Kenny of Team Great Britain during the Closing Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 08, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

“Not only has the team made history but it has probably made history on the back of the most complex and most challenging and difficult environment that we will face certainly in my lifetime.

“It has been against all the odds and I think it is the greatest achievement in British Olympic history. It has been the miracle of Tokyo and it has been wonderful to be here.”

Besides a slew of record-breakers including Laura and Jason Kenny and Charlotte Dujardin, England paid particular tribute to those who rose to the occasion to clinch bronze medals, and believes it bodes particularly well for Paris in three years’ time.

“In Rio we had big medal returns on some days and another day we might have just had one or two,” added England.

Great Britain's Laura Muir celebrates after winning the silver medal in the Women's 1,500m Final (Picture: Martin Rickett/PA)

“But the Bryony Pages (Sheffield trampolinist) of this team, winning another bronze after her silver medal in Rio, and the women’s artistic gymnastics team winning a bronze with two 16-year-old twins – these kept the scoreboard ticking over and gave everybody the confidence that the team is in great shape.

“We’ve had 16 fourth places. This is a very, very young team and a very talented team, and a team I’m absolutely confident that will go to Paris in less than three years and do exceptionally well.”

Olympics: Pages 2, 3 and 10

Weightlifter Emily Campbell was a surprise medallist (Picture: PA)