Max Whitlock has successfully defended his Olympic gymnastics title by winning gold in the men’s individual pommel horse.
Whitlock, the lead gymnast for Team GB‘s men, was up first and performed a stunning routine to kick off the men’s pommel horse final.
Having only qualified fifth, Team GB’s defending Olympic champion threw down the gauntlet to his challengers with a routine packed with difficulty and top execution.
Champion: Team GB Gymnast Max Whitlock defended his Olympic pommel horse title by winning gold in the men’s final
Pictured: Whitlock packed his final pommel horse routine full of complexity and was rewarded with a difficulty score of 7.0
Whitlock, 28, had deliberately come into this year’s competition with a determination to make his routine more difficult, and he was true to his word, posting a masterclass with a huge difficulty of seven.
His execution, while not completely flawless, saw him post a mammoth score of 15.583, laying down a huge marker to his opponents. Whitlock had not previously managed a score above 15 in qualifying.
Whitlock chose not to enter the floor competition, in which he was also Olympic champion at Rio in 2016, after a couple of disappointing results.
Instead he focused on the pommel horse in Tokyo in the men’s individual event, which started ominously in qualifying when a couple of errors saw Whitlock qualify fifth with 14.9, easily outpaced by his biggest rivals.
Calm under pressure: Whitlock had not posted a score over 15 in qualifying but blew everybody away in the final
Runners up: Chinese Taipei’s Lee Chih Kai (left) took silver, and Japan’s Kazuma Kaya (right) won bronze
Gold medallist Max Whitlock of Team Great Britain poses with his medal on the podium after the Men’s Pommel Horse Final
Whitlock said defending his title had been ‘a million times harder’ than winning it for the first time in Rio.
‘This is probably the most pressured environment I’ve ever been in,’ he told the BBC.
‘Experience pays a lot in situations like this and I’m just incredibly happy and thankful for the journey that we’ve been on to get here.
‘Going up first is hard. If you’re talking to any gymnasts, they know going up first is really difficult.
‘Me and Scott (Hann, his coach) knew I had to go all out, I had to lay down a good score.’
Asked how it felt to now be a six-time Olympic medallist, Whitlock said: ‘Surreal. If you ever said that to me as a youngster growing up, I would have never believed you.’
It comes after Charlotte Worthington made history by becoming the first women to complete a 360 backflip as she took gold in the Olympic BMX freestyle event.
The 25-year-old Mancunian nailed the first 360 backflip to be performed in women’s competition in a huge second run – having crashed attempting the move in her first.
Charlotte Worthington won gold in the women’s freestyle BMX with the first ever 360 backflip completed by a woman
Team GB’s Charlotte Worthington, from Manchester, celebrates during the BMX finals after a phenomenal performance
Worthington made history in more ways than one as she claimed gold in the first Olympic women’s BMX freestyle competition in Tokyo before Declan Brooks followed up with bronze in the men’s event moments later.
The double success meant Britain have taken a medal in all four BMX events at these Games after the racing gold and silver for Beth Shriever and Kye Whyte.
Meanwhile, in the pool, Duncan Scott became the first British athlete to win four medals at a single Olympics as Team GB celebrated their best swimming haul at a Games.
Scott and his fellow Team GB swimmers took home silver in the 4×100 metres medley relay final just hours after Team GB made history as Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks took gold and bronze in the first ever Olympic BMX event.
Luke Greenbank, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Scott took silver in the medley relay final, finishing 0.73 seconds behind the United States, who claimed gold in a world record time of three minutes and 26.78 seconds.
Britain’s eighth medal – with four golds, three silvers and a bronze – in the final swimming event in the Japanese capital bettered their previous best tally in the pool of seven gongs, set at the London Games 113 years ago.
Scott has won gold in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay and silver in the solo event as well as finishing runner-up in the 200m individual medley, and it was another second spot on the podium on Sunday.
Greenbank, the 200m backstroke bronze medallist, was seventh after the opening leg, but Peaty, eyeing his third gold of these Olympics, swam a remarkable breaststroke split of 56.53s to take them into the lead.
Record: Team GB’s Duncan Scott poses with the gold medal and three silver medal he won during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Pictured: Duncan Scott, Luke Greenbank, Adam Peaty and James Guy pose with silver medals from the men’s medley relay as they celebrate Team GB’s most successful Olympics performance in the pool in 113 years with a total medal haul of eight
Guy, also chasing a hat-trick of gold medals this week, swam his butterfly leg in a creditable 50.27s but was overtaken by the vaunted Caeleb Dressel, with American compatriot Zach Apple completing the job.
Victory for the USA was a second win on Sunday for Dressel after prevailing in the 50m freestyle earlier, capping a sensational Games for the 24-year-old, who has collected five golds in Japan and now has seven overall.
The USA-Britain one-two matched the result from the Rio 2016 Games.
Scott said: ‘It’s all my teammates, that’s what that is. I’m fortunate to be part of some excellent relay teams, this being one of them.
‘We’re all pretty disappointed with this, but in 2015, when we started coming together, back-to-back Olympic silvers in this event, we’d have taken that all day.
‘We’re coming in here to really challenge the Americans just like we did last time at worlds. With our splits, we all swam well, slightly disappointed with mine but that’s how it is. It’s been a tough week, but we’ve got to be happy with that.’
Peaty added: ‘Unfortunately we didn’t do enough to take that gold, but with the success British Swimming have had and we have had, sometimes you need a little bit of pain.
‘This is painful, and I know people at home will say we got Olympic silver, but that’s the standard we are at now. We’re not looking at bronze or silver, we’re looking at how to get gold.
Duncan Scott of Team GB celebrates after competing in the Men’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay Final
Britain’s eighth medal – with four golds, three silvers and a bronze – in the final swimming event in the Japanese capital bettered their previous best tally in the pool of seven gongs in 1908
The Brit celebrates after a sensational second run which saw her earn a monster score of 97.50
‘That’s just my mindset, and I know these guys are disappointed as well, that’s just the honest opinion of our performance and what we thought we could do.
‘But that’s a world record for them, you can’t ask for more, and it’s my fifth medal at two Olympics.’
Elsewhere at the Games, Charlotte Worthington won gold for Great Britain in the first Olympic women’s BMX freestyle competition in Tokyo before Declan Brooks followed up with bronze in the men’s event moments later.
The double success meant Britain have taken a medal in all four BMX events at these Games after the racing gold and silver for Beth Shriever and Kye Whyte.
Worthington made history in more ways than one as the 25-year-old Mancunian nailed the first 360 backflip to be performed in women’s competition in a huge second run – having crashed attempting the move in her first.
It was just one of several highlights in a second effort that earned the former chef a monster score of 97.50 to edge out three-time world champion Hannah Roberts of the United States.
Having made the 360 stick early in her run, a confident-looking Worthington also threw in a front flip and a huge backflip on her way to gold.
‘It’s kind of unreal, I’m waiting to wake up,’ Worthington said. ‘I’ve been dreaming about this for four years, and it still feels like I’m dreaming four years ago, I’m still waiting to wake up.
Worthington and her team celebrate after her gold medal in the competition is confirmed
Worthington pictured with her gold medal during the ceremony after the women’s event
‘I didn’t put any pressure on myself. You go in and out of it, you’re thinking there is some pressure and maybe it’s not going to happen this time.
‘But you’ve just got to let that go really quick and refocus. I tried not to have any pressure and I tried to focus on enjoying myself and taking it one trick at a time.’
Worthington, who only started competing in 2016, had shown her ambition in the first run as she attempted the 360 backflip, but missed the landing to hit the deck, leaving her well down the standings after the opening round.
But she showed no fear as she went for the same routine the second time around.
‘It was incredible,’ she said. ‘I’ve not been doing that trick for that long, we’ve been trying to find that big banger trick and when we found it we thought, ‘this is the one’.
‘We put a lot of faith in that. To be honest, I wouldn’t have had any of those tricks if it wasn’t for Hannah (Roberts). She’s made me push so hard since day one, this is the first time I’ve beaten her.
‘If it wasn’t for Hannah Roberts, we wouldn’t be this far anyway.’
Roberts had topped the standings at the midway point after an outstanding opening run worth 96.10.
Worthington missed her first attempt at the 360 but recovered to get back on her bike
The Brit beat the much favoured American rider Hannah Roberts, who took the silver medal
Going last in the order, the 19-year-old had a chance to top Worthington but slipped a pedal early in her run and pulled up to allow Worthington’s celebrations to begin.
The Briton then moved to the stands at the Ariake Urban Sports Park to cheer on Brooks in the men’s event.
‘There was definitely a lot going on,’ Roberts said as she reflected on her performance.
‘My first run was good, I knew there was places I could improve and that was what the second run was for.
‘I’m super proud of Charlotte, she did a phenomenal run and how far she has come so I am honoured to take second to her.’
Speaking after her victory, Worthington vowed never to work in a kitchen again.
The 25-year-old, from Manchester, had worked as a chef until three years ago when she was taken on to become part of Britain’s first BMX Free-Style Olympic team.
Beaming with joy and a medal around her neck, Charlotte announced: ‘I am so pleased I will never go back to the days of working in a kitchen.’
The Brit praised rival Roberts before moving to the Ariake Urban Sports Park to cheer on fellow Brit Declan Brooks in the men’s event who went on to take the bronze medal moments later
The extreme-sports junky had supported herself working restaurants in Manchester while she pursued her passion for BMX.
She worked first at the Rocconto Lounge in Bury and then The Beagle in Chortlon, which specializes in Mexican food.
But she was talent-spotted while competing a BMX events during her time off and recruited into the newly formed Team GB BMX team.
Asked if her days as a chef were now over, she replied: ‘I bloody well hope so!
‘When I was working at the restaurant, BMX wasn’t in the Olympics, so I was doing BMX and riding scooters as a hobby.
‘It was always a passion of mine. I love extreme sports, anything with wheels, I’m up for it.
‘British Cycling was putting together a team for the Olympics. It kind of snowballed from there. I’ll never look back at the days of working in a kitchen.’
The rider told how she had ‘gambled everything’ to put together her best performance in the final.
Charlotte Worthington of Britain competes in the women’s BMX freestyle final in Tokyo
Gold Medallist Charlotte Worthington celebrate during the BMX Freestyle Women’s Park Final
She fell during her first routine while she tried to land a 360 backflip – the first ever performed by a female BMX rider.
But she pulled off the gravity defying trick in her second routine, giving her a score of 97.50 out of a possible 99.00.
Charlotte revealed how the Team GB BMX mantra is ‘we’re all in!’
She said: ‘If you gamble and give yourself that chance, it is going to pay off. Better than hold back and wonder what it could have been.
‘It’s a women’s first. I’ve been working on it a few months.’
Speaking about her crash she said: ‘On the first attempt, I was probably a little bit giddy and rushed the trick. Not prepared for the landing.’
Charlotte told how her family – mother Sarah, a supply teacher, father John, a gardener, and brother Dominic – and friends had been cheering her on to ‘smash it’ from back home in Britain.
Great Britain’s Declan Brooks has won the bronze medal in the men’s BMX freestyle
The rider pulled off two big front flips in his second run to improve on an initial score of 89.40
She said: ‘Mum and dad and brother were watching. My brother kitted the house out with GB flags, I know they were staying up late.
‘And in Corby, the Farrell family great friends of mine, they were up and I had a little text from them this morning, good luck and go smash it.’
After her victory, Worthington then moved to the stands at the Ariake Urban Sports Park to cheer on fellow Brit Declan Brooks in the men’s event.
The 25-year-old pulled off two big front flips in his second run to improve on an initial score of 89.40, with his 90.80 putting him in provisional second.
He would be dislodged by the veteran Daniel Dhers as the Venezuelan, 36, posted a 92.05, with neither man able to match Logan Martin.
The Australian highlighted his first run with a no-handed front flip, scoring 93.30, and he began his second knowing gold was already in the bag, sitting up to celebrate early after slipping a pedal.
Brooks’ bronze meant Britain’s BMX squad had taken a medal in all four events at the Tokyo Games.
The 25-year-old, known for taking unusual lines on the course, was cheered on by Worthington from the stands as he delivered a mistake-free second round to take provisional silver before Dhers dislodged him.
Australia’s Logan Martin took gold with an incredible score of 92.05 after two great runs
An emotional Brooks told the BBC he had just cried for a couple of minutes after the event
An emotional Brooks told the BBC: ‘I’ve just cried for the last couple of minutes.
‘It’s an unbelievable journey I’ve had on the way here.
‘I am just so stoked. I don’t think it will sink in for a while. For Charlotte [Worthington] to do her things today and put a score and tricks up there that we had never seen before it was even harder focusing.
‘I knew the run I wanted to pull, I still missed a few bits out but to be honest I think that is all I had. But honestly third place for me is a mental!’
Martin’s gold medal winning run was highlighted by a hands-free front flip, and after losing a pedal in his second run he was able to sit up and begin his celebrations early.
Speaking after his success, Brooks told how he was inspired by Charlotte’s victory to pull out his best performance to win bronze.
And he revealed how he had had to get back on his bike after being knocked unconscious in a crash just weeks ago.
Declan, 25, from Portsmouth, said: ‘I crashed on the double back flip a month ago. We had the World Championships in Montpellier.
‘I did a back flip, didn’t rotate enough and knocked myself out. I was unconscious and hurt my shoulder as well. I had 10 days off. Then we got straight back into it.’
Duncan Scott becomes first British athlete to take home four medals
Duncan Scott has become the first British athlete to win four medals at a single Olympics.
The Scot won gold in the men’s 4×200 metres relay and silver in the 200m freestyle, 200m individual medley and 4×100 metres medley relay.
A number of British Olympians have won a hat-trick of gongs at one Games this century and, here are those the 24-year-old has leapfrogged with his feat at Tokyo 2020.
Adam Peaty and James Guy – Tokyo 2020
Peaty and Guy technically have not been overtaken in the list as they won their third medals at the same time as Scott made history in the men’s 4x100m medley relay. It has been quite the Games for Peaty.
He retained his 100m breaststroke title in style and was part of the group that set a new world record in the mixed 4x100m medley relay final. Guy was a winner in the relay events of the men’s 4x200m freestyle and mixed 4x100m medley.
Max Whitlock poses with his two gold medals at the 2016 games in Rio
Max Whitlock – Rio 2016
Armed with two bronzes from London 2012, he claimed a third at the outset in Brazil in the men’s all-round gymnastics event, Britain’s first medal in this discipline for 108 years.
Later on in the Games, the then 24-year-old from Hertfordshire made further history by topping the podium in the individual floor exercise, the first time his nation had won Olympic gymnastics gold.
Britain did not have to wait much longer for a second one as within two hours Whitlock triumphed in the pommel horse, edging out team-mate Louis Smith.
Jason Kenny – Rio 2016
The publicity-shy Kenny was already a three-time Olympic champion, with a silver to boot, when he stepped off the plane in South America in an attempt to add to his legacy.
Alongside Philip Hindes and Callum Skinner, the Manchester cyclist, then 29, claimed victory in the men’s team sprint.
Kenny then overcame Skinner in the final of the individual sprint before more success in the Keirin, his sixth Olympic gold, joining Sir Chris Hoy as the joint most successful competitors among Britons at a Games.
Chris Hoy – Beijing 2008
Hoy emulated Henry Taylor’s 1908 feat of winning three golds at an individual Games and at the same time became Scotland’s most successful Olympian.
Cycling alongside Kenny and Jamie Staff, the Edinburgh rider eased to gold in the men’s team sprint before defeating Team GB stablemate Ross Edgar in the Keirin.
At the 2008 games in Beijing, Hoy emulated Henry Taylor’s 1908 feat of winning three golds at a Games and at the same time became Scotland’s most successful Olympian
Another compatriot stood in his way in the shape of Kenny in the individual sprint but Hoy ultimately prevailed.
He added another two golds at London 2012 before retiring from competitive cycling the following year.
Bradley Wiggins – Athens 2004
Much like many of those before him, the record of winning a trio of medals is hardly the most standout achievement of his career.
Eight years before he won the Tour de France, Wiggins claimed gold in the men’s individual pursuit, silver in the team pursuit along with Steve Cummings, Rob Hayles and Paul Manning, and bronze in the Madison with Hayles.
He won two track cycling golds at Beijing four years later before switching his attentions to the road at London 2012, where he was the winner of the time trial.
Wiggins was back in the velodrome at Rio five years ago and added a final gold to become the Briton with the most Olympic medals, with seven.