Queen hails Team GB's Olympic heroes

Queen hails Team GB’s Olympic heroes: Her Majesty sends ‘warmest congratulations’ to returning Olympians and praises their ‘skill, determination and hard work’

  • Team GB’s 65-medal haul in Japan is two medals short of team’s best ever record
  • Twenty-two medals won were gold – the fourth best performance by British team
  • The Queen praised the team’s ‘extraordinary achievement,’ saying the athletes’ ‘skill, determination and hard work’ amid the unique Games was inspirational

The Queen has praised the ‘skill, determination and hard work’ of the nation’s Olympic competitors after Team GB put in one of its best performances.

Team GB’s 65-medal haul in Japan matched the number earned during the Olympics in London in 2012, and is only two short of the record Rio total in 2016.

There were 22 gold medals won – the fourth-best performance by a British team.

In her message the Queen said: ‘I send my warmest congratulations to the competitors from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and across the Commonwealth, following their success at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in recent weeks.

The Queen has praised the ‘skill, determination and hard work’ of the nation’s Olympic competitors after Team GB put in one of its best performances

Team GB’s 65-medal haul in Japan matched the number earned during the Olympics in London in 2012, and is only two short of the record Rio total in 2016. Pictured: Cyclists Jason and Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald wave as they arrive at Heathrow Airport

There were 22 gold medals won by Team GB at Tokyo – the fourth-best performance by a British team. Pictured: Diver Tom Daley on the podium after winning a bronze medal in the Men’s 10m Platform Final

The official twitter account of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall also paid tribute to Team GB. Pictured: Boxer Galal Yafai is greeted at Heathrow airport on his return from Japan

‘The skill, determination and hard work shown by the athletes and their support teams throughout the unique and challenging circumstances of the last year has been an inspiration to us all.

‘I extend my very best wishes to everyone who has played a part in this extraordinary achievement.’

Sunday’s closing ceremony in Tokyo featured the handover to Paris, which will host the Olympics in 2024.

Sunday’s closing ceremony in Tokyo featured the handover to Paris, which will host the Olympics in 2024. Pictured: Swimmer Duncan Scott who won silver in the Men’s 200. Individual Medley Final

In anticipation, people were gathered in front of the Eiffel Tower on Sunday while President Emmanuel Macron was filmed on top of the monument.

The official twitter account of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall also paid tribute to Team GB.

The post on the heir to the throne and his wife’s social media account said ‘You did brilliantly’ and it also looked ahead to the Paralympics, wishing competitors the ‘best of luck’.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s twitter account also posted congratulations to the team, saying: ‘…you’ve all shown such strength, passion and determination in challenging circumstances and have done the nation incredibly proud!’

Earlier, Britain’s chef de mission Mark England hailed the team’s achievement as the greatest in their Olympic history, saying: ‘Following Beijing we had no idea that British athletes would deliver 65 medals in London.  

‘We knew we were in great shape for Rio but it had never been done before, matching and then surpassing London’s number of medals. 

‘I just think that finishing this Games with two gold medals, and for this team to deliver 65 medals, is absolutely extraordinary.

‘Not only has the team made history but it has probably made history on the back of the most complex and most challenging and difficult environment that we will face certainly in my lifetime.

‘It has been against all the odds and I think it is the greatest achievement in British Olympic history. It has been the miracle of Tokyo and it has been wonderful to be here.’  

 

It’s good to be home! Gold medal heroes Jason and Laura Kenny lead Olympians off their British Airways flight from Tokyo after Team GB smashed all expectations to win a stunning 65 medals at the Olympic Games

Great Britain’s Olympic heroes have landed back in London following a sensational Tokyo Games in which 65 medals, including 22 golds, were won. 

Golden couple Jason and Laura Kenny were among the first athletes pictured at the top of the steps of the British Airways plane just moments after they touched down at Heathrow. They were greeted by Union flag-waving staff as they passed through arrivals.

Earlier on Monday, British Airways released pictures of the Kennys showing off their medals en route back from Japan.

Katie Archibald, who won madison gold alongside Laura Kenny, was another of the returning stars as well as Jack Carlin, who took silver in the team sprint and bronze in the sprint race. 

Joseph Choong, who won modern pentathlon gold on Saturday, and boxer Frazer Clarke, bronze medallist in the super heavyweight division, were also on the flight as they prepare to return home to a hero’s reception. 

Welsh boxer Lauren Price, the final Team GB medallist in the middleweight category on Sunday, was also among those touching down again in the UK.  

Another boxing champion, Galal Yafai, who won gold in the flyweight division, was lifted triumphantly into the air as he emerged into arrivals. Among those greeting him was brother Kal, who has bought him a PlayStation 5 as a reward. 

All competitors were required to vacate the Olympic village within 48 hours of their last event finishing because of Covid-19 protocols, meaning a staggered return to the UK and preventing the triumphant Team GB homecoming seen after other Olympics. 

Team GB’s Olympic stars touched down at Heathrow Airport on Monday afternoon after their glorious performances in Tokyo

Cyclists Jason Kenny (left), Jack Carlin, (second left) and Laura Kenny (third left) were among the first members of Team GB to emerge from their plane after landing at Heathrow on Monday afternoon

Cyclists (front row) Jason Kenny, Laura Kenny, Katie Archibald, (second row) Edward Clancy and Jack Carlin. (back group) Boxers Galal Yafai, Frazer Clarke and Lauren Price and fellow Great Britain team mates arrive back at Heathrow

Jason and Laura Kenny pass through arrivals at Heathrow Airport as they arrive back in the UK following the Olympics

Welsh boxer Lauren Price, who won Britain’s final gold medal of the Tokyo Games on Sunday, poses for a picture at Heathrow

Olympic champion boxer Galal Yafai is lifted into the air as he arrives back at Heathrow Airport on Monday afternoon

There were brilliant scenes of excitement as Yafai, draped in the Union flag, was hoisted into the air at Heathrow

Boxer Frazer Clarke, who won bronze in the super heavyweight competition, gives the thumbs up as he touched down

Clarke touched the ground as he stepped off the plane carrying Great Britain’s Olympic heroes back from Tokyo 

Frazer Clarke was also mobbed by friends and family at Heathrow as Britain’s Olympians received a hero’s welcome home

Modern pentathlon gold medallist Joe Choong is greeted by family at Heathrow Airport upon his arrival back from Japan

But those medal winners during the final few days of the Tokyo Games still enjoyed a terrific reception after the 12-hour flight home. 

Diver Tom Daley, who won two medals at the Olympics, returned to the UK on Sunday night. The 27-year-old smiled and posed for pictures with well-wishers after stepping off his flight from Tokyo. 

The British team equalled their medal haul from the London Olympics in 2012, winning 22 golds, 21 silvers and 22 bronzes to finish fourth in the medal table behind the United States, China and Japan. 

It was their joint-second best return in any post-war Olympics Games with only the 67 won at the 2016 Rio edition surpassing it. 

However, there was more diverse success for Team GB with medals won in 25 different sports compared to 19 in Rio, with 15 athletes winning more than one. 

As has become familiar, cycling was our most successful sport in Tokyo with 12 medals won when successes in BMX and mountain biking are included.

Earlier in the flight, British Airways posted pictures of Team GB’s golden couple as they showed off their medals from Tokyo

A member of the British Airways cabin crew on the flight home takes a closer look at Laura Kenny’s Olympic medals

Britain’s modern pentathlon gold medallist Joseph Choong shows off his precious metal  on his flight home from Japan

British Olympic star Tom Daley appeared in high spirits arrived back at Heathrow Airport from Tokyo on Sunday evening


Daley hugged fans and showed his gold and bronze medals following his success in the Olympic Games in Tokyo

TEAM GB STARS TO BE HONOURED AT BBC HOMECOMING CONCERT

Team GB athletes will have a chance to celebrate their Tokyo 2020 glory in a homecoming concert broadcast on BBC One on Sunday night.

BBC Radio 1 duo Greg James and Clara Amfo will host the event at Wembley Arena, which will be played out in front of an audience of 8,000 people. Key workers have been gifted tickets as a result of their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Artists lined up to perform in the show included Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Bastille, Anne-Marie, Yungblud, Nile Rodgers and Griff, among others.

There will also be footage from the Games, including some of Team GB’s very best moments from Tokyo, as well as exclusive interviews with some of the athletes. 

Jason Kenny won the keirin in spectacular style on Sunday to win his seventh Olympic gold and ninth medal overall 

Jason and wife Laura Kenny, who won the madison with Katie Archibald as well as silver in the team pursuit, pose with their medals on the final day of the Olympic Games

There was a glorious conclusion for Britain in the velodrome, with Jason Kenny, the country’s most decorated Olympian, winning the seventh Olympic gold of his illustrious career and his ninth medal overall by dominating the final of the men’s keirin on Sunday. Kenny had earlier taken silver in the team sprint. 

His wife Laura Kenny became the most successful female cyclist in Olympic history by winning gold alongside Katie Archibald in the women’s madison having earlier taken silver in the team pursuit. Kenny now has six Olympic medals across three Games, including five golds. 

Britain won 11 medals in the Tokyo Aquatics Centre with Adam Peaty winning the 100 metre breaststroke before being part of the quartet that took gold in the 4x100m mixed medley relay.  

Divers Daley and Matty Lee won gold in the 10m synchro platform diving before Daley claimed bronze in the 10m platform competition for his fourth Olympic medal overall.   

The Olympics finished with a flourish for Team GB, with boxer Lauren Price winning boxing gold in one of the last finals to be held on Sunday.

Saturday had seen modern pentathlon gold for Joe Choong, just 24 hours after Kate French won the women’s event, plus boxing success for Galal Yafai. 

Britain’s chef de mission Mark England hailed the team’s achievement as the greatest in their Olympic history, saying: ‘Following Beijing we had no idea that British athletes would deliver 65 medals in London. 

‘We knew we were in great shape for Rio but it had never been done before, matching and then surpassing London’s number of medals. 

‘I just think that finishing this Games with two gold medals, and for this team to deliver 65 medals, is absolutely extraordinary.

‘Not only has the team made history but it has probably made history on the back of the most complex and most challenging and difficult environment that we will face certainly in my lifetime. 

‘It has been against all the odds and I think it is the greatest achievement in British Olympic history. It has been the miracle of Tokyo and it has been wonderful to be here.’ 

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis at Nielsen Gracenote, also shared his delighted at GB’s achievement.

He said: ‘At Rio 2016, Great Britain became the first country to improve on its medal tally in the Olympics after being the host – and Team GB have now become the first to equal or win more medals at each of the next two Games.’ 

Six-time Olympic cycling gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy told BBC Sport that the British team ‘should be incredibly proud’ of their achievements. 

He said: ‘Expectations were mixed going into it. Certain sports didn’t perform as expected, others overachieved.

‘You get payment in kind for a gold. We have a limited pot of money and you have to use that as best you can. It’s about intelligent use of money, thinking outside the box and being inventive.

‘They have done us all proud – a great performance.’ 

Duncan Scott was also among several British athletes that made history at the Games – winning a record number of medals for a Briton at a single Olympics, a gold and three silver.  

However, it was the United States who led the medal table with 39 gold medals – one more than second-placed China. The USA also finished with the highest medal total (113). 

Sprinter Allyson Felix also created history, becoming the most decorated woman and American in track and field with her 10th and 11th Olympic medals, bronze in the 400m and gold – her seventh – in the 4x400m relay. 

While the host nation, Japan, secured 58 medals and finished third in the ranking for gold medals – claiming a total of 27.

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