Olympic triumph for Team GB
Farah ends on high in triumphant Games
At £5m per medal won some may argue that in terms of the sums spent on some sports this was money well spent. The two-week bonanza has also given the country a lift following weeks of headlines over economic uncertainty.
Long-distance runner Mo Farah completed a historic double double, cyclist Laura Trott became the most decorated female Olympian and her fiance and fellow cyclist Jason Kenny was the most successful Briton, winning three golds. Adam Peaty made history in the pool.
Other notable achievements came from Nicola Adams who became the first British boxer to retain an Olympic title since 1924 by winning her flyweight final, and Liam Heath who won the kayak single 200m sprint. Jack Laugher and Chris Mears claimed GB’s first ever diving Olympic gold.
British athletes won a bigger medal haul than they achieved in London 2012. Of the 366 who competed in Rio, 129 of them – 35% – returned with a medal, including every member of the 15-strong track cycling team.
In terms of golds, GB finished with at least one in 15 sports, more than any other country, even the United States.
The Rio Games will also bring the curtain down on some careers. Farah, 33, will end his track career at next year’s World Championships in London after retaining his 5,000m Olympic title, becoming only the second man in history to win both the 5,000m and 10,000m titles in the same Games twice.
He has not ruled out running the marathon at Tokyo 2020.
Final medals table (top 20):
|8 South Korea||9||3||9||21|
|19 New Zealand||4||9||5||18|
Brazil won the gold medal the country had most coveted when football captain Neymar scored the winning penalty in a shoot-out in a packed Maracana stadium.
The 5-4 victory on penalties over Germany followed a 1-1 draw after extra time and avenged the 7-1 thrashing by the same team in the same venue at the World Cup two years ago.
While the young German players were inconsolable, Neymar was overcome with tears of joy which he shared with 78,000 delirious fans inside the stadium and a whole nation desperate to end a sometimes troubled Games on a positive note.
No matter that most of the senior German stars were missing (the Olympic squads were only able to feature three players aged older than 23), the whole of the Brazilian nation yearned for football gold and the partying began as soon as Neymar’s kick struck the German net.
Neymar, who plays his football for Barcelona, had opened the scoring in the first half. Max Meyer brought the Germans level early in the second period.
In the shootout, Germany’s Nils Petersen’s had his penalty saved.
The outcome was all the more notable for being a rare defeat for Germany in a penalty shoot-out. Match of the Day commentator Gary Lineker tweeted an amendment to his famous quip that “football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and in the end the Germans always win.”
After the game, he tweeted: “Olympic football is a game that 22 men kick a ball around for 120 minutes and at the end the Germans lose on penalties to Brazil.”