Nine unforgettable golden moments from Team GB at Tokyo 2020

After the delays and threats to the pandemic-ridden Tokyo Olympics, Team GB got off to a flyer in the Japanese capital as the squad produced an array of golds across sports.

From the moment Adam Peaty won Team GB’s first gold medal in the 100m breaststroke - perhaps the most locked-on gold at the Games - Team GB produced golden performance from defending Rio champions to athletes such as BMX pair Beth Schriever and Charlotte Worthington, who rocketed into public consciousness after stellar rides.

Here, Yahoo Sports looks back at nine unforgettable moments from Britain’s stars, old and new.

Great Britain's Tom Daley and Matty Lee during the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on the third day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Picture date: Monday July 26, 2021.
Tom Daley and Matty Lee produced a nerveless display to hold off their Chinese rivals in the 10m synchro final. (Photo: Press Association)

Tom Daley and Matty Lee: Men’s synchronised 10m platform

The anxious wait was almost unbearable. After China’s world champions Cao Yuan and Chen Asien unleashed their final dive of six, they needed the judges on their side. Tom Daly and Matty Lee stood transfixed on the scoreboard. Then, it came. Team GB had prevailed by 1.23 points. Daley, after 14 years, had won his first individual Olympic title. Lee was in his first Games. It left Daley to jump into his partner’s arms in delight.

Tom Dean: Men’s 200m freestyle

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 27: Tom Dean of Great Britain celebrates after winning the men 200m Freestyle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan (Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto)/Sipa USA
Tom Dean can barely believe touching the wall first after claiming 200m Freestyle final gold. (Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto)/Sipa USA

Stroke-for-stroke the Great Britain duo went. Team GB hadn’t seen a one-two in the pool since 1908. This was a breakthrough moment as Tom Dean just fought off favourite Duncan Scott. The Maidenhead swimmer’s gold was even more extraordinary after the 21-year-old had twice contracted COVID-19 during the Games build-up. It was also a day to savour for Team GB, Dean’s victory adding to GB’s greatest start to an Olympic Games after winning a fourth gold in as many days. Little wonder that the Dean family and friends celebrated so wildly.

Giles Scott: Men’s Finn class

Great Britain's Giles Scott celebrates after the men's one-person dinghy (heavyweight) finn race during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games sailing competition at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, on August 3, 2021. (Photo by Olivier MORIN / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER MORIN/AFP via Getty Images)
Giles Scott kept up Britain's unbeaten run in the men's Finn class - an event which will be disbanded for Paris 2024. (Photo by OLIVIER MORIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Sailing is not a sport where results are measured in inches. But that was the denouement with Giles Scott’s successful Olympic defence as he creeped over the line to continue the longest winning run in any sport at the Olympics. Since 2000, GB had sailed victorious in the Finn class, including three straight wins by Ben Ainslie. In Tokyo, Scott hauled himself past two boats in the dying moments to claim gold by two seconds. “I've been flat out for five years, so I'll have a week off or so,” said Scott.

Max Whitlock: Men’s pommel

The Rio champion faced an unusual scenario ahead of the defence of his title. Going out first - something he had never done in major competition - he needed to lay down a marker. He went all in. The Briton produced an almost flawless routing to score 15.583. He then watched as his rivals ultimately failed to match Whitlock’s flowing moves. “This was probably the most pressured environment that I’ve been in,” said Whitlock after a classy defence.

Charlotte Worthington: Women’s BMX freestyle

Great Britain's Charlotte Worthington on her way to winning a gold medal in the women's BMX freestyle at the Ariake Urban Sports Park on the ninth day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Picture date: Sunday August 1, 2021. See PA story OLYMPICS Cycling. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
Charlotte Worthington produced an historic move to land BMX gold in Tokyo. (Photo by: Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

A new Olympic event and a history-making move by Worthington saw the Briton clinch a sensational gold. The 25-year-old from Manchester completed the backflip 360, the first time the trick had been manoeuvred in women’s competition. ‘We’ve been trying to find that big banger trick and when we found it we thought, ‘this is the one’,” Worthington beamed afterwards. The move blew apart the field, three-time world champion Hannah Roberts unable to complete her final run such was the Briton’s bold display.

Beth Schriever: Women’s BMX racing

Britain's Bethany Shriever (R) competes in the cycling BMX racing women's final at the Ariake Urban Sports Park during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 30, 2021. (Photo by Jeff PACHOUD / AFP) (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images)
Beth Shriever steals a march on the field and then peddled to brillant BMX gold. (Photo by: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images)

Another nerveless win by a British BMX rider, this time by the 22-year-old from Essex, who rode to the first ever Team GB gold in BMX racing. She held off two-time champion Mariana Pajon on the line, her win coming two years after being forced to crowdfund to finance her way to Tokyo. Schriever later rejoined British Cycling and the British golds looks set to boost BMX racing in the UK.

Adam Peaty: Men’s 100m breaststroke

One of Tokyo’s locked-on favourites for gold, the Rio champion duly delivered the goods in a win which sparked a wave of medals for Team GB in the pool. 

The 26-year-old, unbeaten in seven years over 100m, became the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title, blowing away the field to take victory in 57.37 seconds. He later swore twice on live television and then announced he was taking a break from swimming, such was the pressure to deliver on the world stage.

Ben Maher, men’s individual showjumping

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Equestrian - Jumping - Individual - Final - Equestrian Park - Tokyo, Japan - August 4, 2021. Ben Maher of Britain on his horse Explosion W competes during the jump-off. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Ben Maher and Explosion W had to be at their showjumping best in the six-horse jump-off to decide individual gold. (Photo by: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

“He grew wings for me - he's a real athlete, he's not a normal horse,” So said Ben Maher, who won showjumping gold on board Explosion W during a dramatic six-horse jump-off. There was pin drop silence as Maher produced a clear round and then pipped his Swedish rival by 17-hundredths of a second. "I'm getting married in a couple of weeks and that makes this all the more special - but my fiance knows she has to share me with Explosion,” he said afterwards.

Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald: Women’s madison

Great Britain's Katie Archibald (right) and Laura Kenny during the Women's Madison Final at the Izu Velodrome on the fourteenth day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Picture date: Friday August 6, 2021.
Katie Archibald (right) and Laura Kenny were untouchable on their way to the Olympic madison title, the first time the event had been run on the Games programme. (Photo by: Press Association)

Was there a more dominating performance from Team GB in Tokyo? Laura Kenny became the first British woman to win gold at three successive Olympic Games as she and Archibald hoovered up 10 out of the 12 sprint points on offer in this marauding, mad event. The British pair produced the near-perfect race and stayed out of trouble as Kenny won a fifth career Olympic gold.