Tokyo gold rush sees Team GB enjoy best start to an Olympics in modern history

Team GB are enjoying their best start to an Olympics in modern history after striking gold on back-to-back days in Tokyo.

A British swimming one-two in the 200m freestyle and a silver in the women’s triathlon take Britain to 10 medals – eclipsing the previous record of just six by day four.

Four golds are also more than the squad has ever achieved so early, with Britain overcoming a Games riddled with the adversity of strict Covid protocols, no spectators and 30C-plus heat.

Hopes of a fifth in the taekwondo were dashed on Tuesday, but gold-medal hopes in the rowing and equestrian on Wednesday add to sudden heady excitement in Tokyo.

Andy Anson, the Team GB chief executive, told Telegraph Sport the amazing success so far was just reward for all the suffering the athletes, and the nation, have endured during the pandemic.

“It’s just great to see these athletes rewarded for their hard work and dedication," he added. "The last 18 months has been as hard for them as anyone and to see the smiles on their faces and the pride they have in their performances makes it all worth it.

"There have been so many great performances and stories at the Games already – not just from our British athletes, but from all over the world, and that, for me, is what the Olympic Games is all about.”

Olympics 2020: Medal Table

After Tom Daley and Adam Peaty featured among a hat-trick of golds on "Magic Monday", day four became "Terrific Tuesday" as swimmer Tom Dean sensationally clinched gold six months after he contracted Covid for a second time.

The 21-year-old, who struggled to walk up stairs after contracting the virus, edged out Duncan Scott by 0.04secs, while Georgia Taylor-Brown fought back from a puncture on the last lap of the bike leg to take triathlon silver.

With 10 medals in total so far at this stage on day four, this start by Team GB dwarfs previous hauls of six set in 2016, 2000 and 2008.

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis at Nielsen Gracenote, confirmed the start was record-breaking. Prior the Games, Gracenote projected a total of 52 medals by the end of the Games. 

UK Sport, meanwhile, set a medal target of between 45 and 70 and has repeatedly emphasised a "holistic" approach after ruthless regimes in the previous two Games. Team GB are currently fifth in the medal table. In 2016, Britain came second, with 67 medals. A haul of 65 was secured at London 2012. This is the youngest squad that Team GB has taken to a recent Games. Sporting chiefs would be satisfied by a top-five status a week on Sunday.

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