LONDON, Aug 5: Greg Rutherford’s surprise victory in the long jump capped a glorious night for Britain as the host nation celebrated its best Olympic day for over a century.
Day Eight of the Games had been billed as “Super Saturday”, but the host nation’s enthusiastic crowds could hardly have imagined that Britain would take six of the 25 golds on offer and finish the day third on the medals table.
They had not won so many on a single day since the first London Olympics, in 1908.
“Our finest Olympic hour” was the headline in The Sunday Times, while The Sun tabloid called the gold-medallists, “The Six Pack”.
As Rutherford won the long jump, the crowd went wild as the sounds of David Bowie’s “Heroes” blared through the stadium speakers and a sea of Union flags fluttered in the stands as one victory run followed another. Prince William and his wife, Kate, were there.
An otherwise golden day for Britain, however, ended in a familiar disappointment for football fans when the men’s team were knocked out in a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals.
Britain’s men, back in the Olympics for the first time in 52 years, suffered the agony that England have virtually perfected in World Cups and European Championships when they were beaten 5-4 on penalties by South Korea at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
In other events, China’s Sun Yang made his mark by smashing his own world record in the most arduous race in swimming.
Sun’s 1,500-metre freestyle race did not have an auspicious start. He dived into the pool ahead of the start, apparently after hearing a noise in the crowd, while everyone else remained on the blocks. Yang glanced at the starter with a confused look, got back out of the pool and waited to see if he’d be disqualified. He wasn’t.
He then slashed more than three seconds off his own world record to seal China’s fifth swimming gold — making it their best Olympics in the pool.
In other results on Saturday, China beat South Korea 39-25 to win the women’s epee team event; Ilya Ilin of Kazakhstan won weightlifting gold medal in the men’s 94kg division and Sandra Perkovic of Croatia won the women’s discus.—Agencies