Tokyo Olympics: Sky Brown, Beth Shriever headline the urban uprising of the 24-hour Games - Nick Westby

Tokyo 2020 has felt like the 24-hour Olympics.

Great Britain's Sky Brown during a run before going on to win bronze in the Women's Park Final at Ariake Sports Park (Picture: PA)

There was barely time to catch your breath.

Up in the middle of the night to watch the swimming finals and the morning athletics sessions.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Waking up to the diving and the mountain biking.

Yorkshire's Tom Pidcock after winning the gold medal in the cross country mountain biking (Picture: PA)

Waking up at 5am if you have a four-year-old who struggles to sleep, like I do, to watch the skateboarding.

Then its track cycling while you had your breakfast, the athletics with lunch and a bit of team sports to close out the Tokyo day by mid-afternoon.

Three o’clock here is 11pm at night in Japan, time for some rest for our athletes, but on this side of the world we are venturing into prime-time television.

So it is recap after recap of the day’s action; highlights from the same sports packaged in different ways across BBC and Eurosport and a myriad number of apps.

Urban uprising: Great Britain's Bethany Shriever and Kye Whyte celebrate their gold and silver medals respectively for the Cycling BMX Racing (Picture: PA)

Throughout the day passed like a sweaty relay baton through the hands of Dan Walker to Hazel Irvine to Gabby Logan to Jason Mohammad to Clare Balding to yet another highlights show at 9pm. Then finally at 10pm the action stops for a couple of hours before JJ Chalmers takes you through the night.

And what about the three nights when Jonny Brownlee and the triathletes were competing? A 6.30am start in Odaiba Marine Park meant a 10.30pm start in the UK, leaving you with just half-an-hour without the Olympics as a companion.

Don’t get me wrong, I have found the Games as riveting as ever, and I have certainly caught more of it than I did in Rio when they were behind us in time and a lot of the evening medals were in the middle of the night for us.

Tokyo 2020 will be remembered for the new urban sports we have witnessed; BMX and skateboarding in particular, with a little 3x3 basketball and surfing to go with it.

USA's Simone Biles in the Women's Balance Beam Final (Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

Sports in which you need just one or two pieces of equipment and away you go. Sports that appeal to the masses, no matter what your background.

This really has been an Olympics that reflected youth culture and with break-dancing to be added to the programme for Paris 2024, the Olympic movement really is going through a period of transition.

Fortunately, Team GB are keeping pace with that change: gold and silver in the BMX, bronze in the skateboarding won by a 13-year-old who in three years’ time wants to have a go at surfing as well.

Of the core sports, this has been an Olympics of varying success.

Leeds Beckett University's Keely Hodgkinson with the silver medal after finishing second in the Women's 800m final (Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire)

Rowing, for so long Britain’s dependable discipline, is a sport at a crossroads, riven with in-fighting and returning home with just two medals, neither of them gold. Britain’s most well-funded sport, one that is steeped in an elitist tradition it has for so long struggled to rid itself of, suddenly looks vulnerable to the urban uprising.

British Cycling were the dominant force in Beijing, London and Rio and continued that reign in Tokyo, but this time across a host of disciplines. There was an element of transition, out went old heroes like Ed Clancy, but Jason and Laura Kenny remain a medal-winning power couple and new stars emerged in the shape of Matthew Walls on the track, Beth Shriever on her BMX and Tom Pidcock on his mountain bike.

The gymnastics team were always one in transition, but they still have a gold-medal figurehead in Max Whitlock.

In track and field, Team GB can count themselves unfortunate. Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson were world champions two years ago and primed for Tokyo in its scheduled slot of 2020. But the extra year brought about by the Covid pandemic gave them an extra year to get injured, which is sadly what happened.

There were bright spots, though, the continuing emergence of Leeds Beckett University student Keely Hodgkinson and a medal at long last for Holly Bradshaw in the pole vault. Her story is one Pontefract swimmer Max Litchfield should cling to, finishing outside of the medals at major championship after major championship before finally stepping onto the podium.

Litchfield finished fourth in the 400m individual medley for the second straight Olympics but need not look too far for inspiration, given the sterling efforts of his team-mates in the pool.

Great Britain's Noah Williams during the Men's 10m Platform Diving Preliminaries at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on the fourteenth day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Picture date: Friday August 6, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story OLYMPICS Diving. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

British Swimming are the undoubted champions of Team GB, led by the peerless Adam Peaty and the indefatigable Duncan Scott, they won eight medals in the pool. Throw in a heart-warming gold for Tom Daley and a redemptive bronze for Jack Laugher and the diving squad are second only to the metronomic Chinese off springboard and platform.

From a Yorkshire perspective this was always going to be a transitional Games, but we have still crowned new Olympic champions.

Old favourites like Jessica Ennis-Hill and Nicola Adams went straight after Rio, while Alsitair Brownlee fell short in his bid to qualify for Tokyo.

Clancy started the Games but retired injured midway through.

Some old favourites showed their class – Jonny Brownlee in the mixed relay triathlon, Laugher in the 3m springboard and Bryony Page on the trampoline.

But new champions and medallists emerged, people we have been following for years who delivered on the biggest stage of all: Pidcock in the mountain bike, diver Matty Lee the calming presence next to Daley on the 10m platform, Jess Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown in triathlon, Bradly Sinden coming so close to gold in taekwondo, Oliver Townend and Charlotte Fry on horseback.

Safe hands to take Yorkshire into the Paris and Los Angeles Olympics.

Internationally, new stars were born. Athletics has yet to find its next Usain Bolt but in Norwegian Karsten Warholm it has its new superman, Sweden’s Armand Duplantis a man who can soar higher than anyone and history-makers like the double double sprint winner Elaine Thompson-Herah. The athletics also threw up some shocks, not least an Italian winning the 100m, Lamont Marcell Jacobs an unlikely successor to Bolt but now the fastest man on earth.

Caeleb Dressel won five gold medals in the pool for the United States; not quite Mark Spitz in 1972, not quite Michael Phelps in 2008, but not bad all the same.

But he did most of it in the early hours of the morning UK time, so did it really happen?

Simone Biles made headlines not for her gymnastic superiority but for her mental fragility.

It was one of the thousands of storylines, good and bad, heartbreaking and uplifting, from an all-consuming 24-hour Olympics. Tokyo 2020, we’ll miss it now it’s gone.