It comes to something when the stories behind the achievement of an Olympic Bronze medal get lost behind all the Gold. But that’s what’s happened in Rio 2012. Team GB netted a staggering 27 Gold medals, but ‘just’ 17 Bronze. They were no less hard earned though. So here’s our pick of the best of Britain’s Bronze Bonanza from Rio 2012 . Stories that we think are worthy of a little more limelight or demonstrate the fine line between first and third in an Olympic final…
Greg Rutherford – Long Jump
The 2012 Olympic Champion (and winner of every other major outdoor championship since) was back for another go at Rio 2016 – as part of what was billed as “Super Saturday:the sequel”. His longest jump of 8.29m was just 9cm less than American Jeff Henderson, but you have to feel for South African Luvo Manyonga who won Silver – he was just 1cm short of gold. Rutherford’s jump was 2cm shorter than his London leap – so he would still have won Bronze based on his previous Olympic performance. Although it was short of his personal best of 8.51m. It’s easy to view Bronze as a failure given Rutherford’s previous record – but it’s still third best in the world. Plus he’s been touted as a competitor on Strictly, which means he’s truly arrived on the British stage!
Vicky Holland – Triathlon
With the Brownlee Brothers blitzing the Olympic Men’s triathlon it was easy to miss the women’s event. Vicky Holland netted Olympic Bronze coming in just four seconds behind silver medalist, Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig. Winner Gwen Jorgensen literally ran away with the win though, as she was a further 40 seconds up the road. This was Holland’s second Olympics – she competed at London 2012 coming in 26th – so achieving a medal was a huge step up and a great demonstration of British tenacity. Spare a thought for 4th place Non Sanford – another Brit, who trailed Holland by just 3 seconds. In winning Bronze, Holland became the first British female athlete to win a medal in triathlon.
Team GB Women’s 4x400m Relay – Athletics
Medals won in a team event are more easily overlooked – but Team GB’s women’s 400m relay are the epitome of what it is to work together. The 400m is one of Athletics toughest track competitions combining aerobic and aerobic respiration for each athlete – roughly over the first and second 200 metres respectively. Team GB achieved Bronze in Rio – a result from a group of Athletes that is, on paper, greater than the sum of its parts. Each individual athlete is truly deserving of competing on the world stage – but none was expected to achieve a medal – but put them together and they are gracing the 3rd step of the Olympic podium. Christine Ohuruogu, Kelly Massey, Emily Diamond, Eilidh Doyleand, Seren Bundy-Davies and Anyika Onuora, mixing it up and combining their talents through the heats and Semis to make it bronze in the final.
Amy Tinkler – Floor Gymnastics
Amy Tinkler is just 16. She’s was Team GB’s youngest Athlete at Rio 2016. She won Bronze with a score of 14,933 in the Gymnastics floor event. Simone Biles (a true American legend) took gold – narrowly missing a clean sweep in all five gymnastics disciplines with Bronze in the women’s beam. At 19,Biles has three years on Tinkler – so the Team GB youngster has three years development time ahead of Tokyo 2020 – which would be ideal preparation to take two steps up to Olympic greatness. She’s only the second British female athlete in history to win a medal in Olympic women’s gymnastics.
Chris Froome – Cycling
Chris Froome is famous for being the first Britain to win back-to-back in the Tour de France, but he also went to Rio with hopes of a medal. ‘Le Tour’ finished a little more than a month before the Olympics opened and the Road Cycling Time trial tok place on Day 5 . But whilst the rest of Team GBs athletes were arriving back in the UK on a specially chartered gold-nosed British Airways Jumbo Jet, Froome is already back in the saddle and in contention to win the Veulta – Spain’s equivalent to the Tour de France. Given that this endurance cycling hero obtained bronze whilst ‘squeezing the Olympics in between races’ it’s a truly impressive achievement.
Chris Langrige and Marcus Ellis – Badminton
Anyone who saw the post-medal studio interview with Chris Language and Marcus Ellis couldn’t help be impressed. The duo were far from favourites going into the Olympics, but came away with Bronze – the UK’s first badminton medal for 12 years. Even in Badminton circles their achievement was not expected – they’re ranked 22nd being a fairly new partnership that only came together two years ago (relatively short time in Badminton). What’s impressive though is how they’re already using their win to motivate themselves for more success and to inspire a new breed of badminton players. After collecting his medal Langridge was reinforcing how during the Olympics they have beaten some of the best pairings in the world – fairly and squarely – and that he feels on their day they’re now ready to take on anyone. We love that. Proper Team GB Lion Spirit.
So, that’s it then. Barring a couple of victory parades later in September and October, we’ve got to wait another four years for more Olympic glory. But being as time-flies and it doesn’t feel like 5 minutes since we were basking in London’s greatness, that won’t feel anything like as long when we’re enjoying the Opening ceremony for Tokyo 2020.
But before any of that of course – it’s the Paralympics. So if you’re stuck for something to look forward to put that on your list. We hope it will be as spectacular as London’s and we’ll be back with a preview of the events shortly…