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.
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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.