A MINI-DELUGE of medals saw Team GB rise to ninth in the overall standings in Rio, as diving double act Jack Laugher and Chris Mears picked up gold to add to kayaker Joe Clarke’s surprise victory earlier on day five.
Laugher and Mears won Britain’s first ever diving gold medal with an outstanding performance in the 3m synchronised springboard event to end China’s hopes of a clean sweep of golds in the infamous green pool.
The plummeting pair were not expected to emerge victorious but wowed the judges with the difficulty of their last two dives after leading the field from round three onwards, with their penultimate effort one of the trickiest combos ever seen in competition and landing them a fine score of 86.58.
“That wasn’t our best score on that dive,” said Laugher. “It’s the hardest dive in the world currently done on three metres. It could have been better but I’ve got a gold medal, I’m not complaining. I don’t want to go up and redo it again, that’s for sure.”
In the kayaking, unfancied 23-year-old Clarke put in a storming run in the K1 final after finishing third in the semi-final, landing Team GB’s first medal in the event since Campbell Walsh at Athens in 2004.
“I’m gobsmacked,” said Clarke. “I knew I was capable of such a performance, but to put it down in the Olympic final is just a dream come true.”
Max Whitlock put in a superb performance in the gym to become the first Brit to nab an all-around medal in 108 years as he finished third behind the superb Kohei Uchimura and Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev to make up for the men’s team’s disappointing fourth placed finish.
Earlier, Tour de France winner Chris Froome also bagged a bronze medal in the cycling time trial, as he was unable to get close to Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara or Holland’s Tom Dumoulin, eventually finishing 47 seconds shy of the second-placed Dutchman and over a minute behind the winner.
In Judo, Sally Conway unleashed a flurry of Ippons in the qualifying rounds to eventually bring home a bronze and banish her horrific memories of London 2012, where she exited in the second round with shoulder ligament damage.
Sharp shooter Steven Scott blasted his way to Britain’s final medal of the day, defeating team mate Tim Kneale 30-28 in the double trap bronze medal match, following a sudden-death eliminator with Australian James Willett after the semi-final finished in a three-way tie.
Team GB have now won three more medals than at the equivalent stage in 2012, with further medal opportunities on day 6 as cycling moves indoors to the velodrome, where the British team will be looking for a strong placing in the men’s team sprint, while Laura Trott and Bradley Wiggins will saddle up to lead their respective team pursuit squads in qualifying.