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It was a golden games down in Rio!

12:00am | & News

A spectacular carnival-themed closing ceremony brought the 2016 Rio Olympics to a thrilling conclusion, with Team GB having good cause to celebrate a record breaking games.

Remarkably the British squad finished the games with 67 medals ­– two more than its tally from the 2012 London Olympics, where "home advantage" had raised expectations to levels unlikely to be matched at any overseas Olympics. In fact the British squad's target for the Rio games was set at just under 50 medals, a target which they smashed part-way through the second week.

Team GB finished second in the final medals table, with 27 golds, 23 silvers and 17 bronze medals. Only the United States finished higher and although China won three more medals overall, with a total of 70, it had fewer golds and silvers putting the huge nation below Great Britain in the final table.

There was no doubt that Great Britain had punched above its weight in Rio, so it was fitting that its final medal was the silver won by super-heavyweight Joe Joyce in the boxing ring on Sunday, the final day of the games. Many who watched the bout thought he deserved gold, but it wasn't the first controversial decision in the boxing ring.

Controversy aside, it has been a remarkable and memorable games for Team GB, the only nation ever to win more medals at the Olympics after the one it hosted. It is 108 years since Britain placed so high in the medals table and there were some notable successes that helped put it there.

Never before had Britain won a gold in Gymnastics until Max Whitlock won his two, or in diving until Jack Laugher and Chris Mears secured their joint gold. There were six medals from the swimming pool, including a remarkable 100m breastroke gold for Adam Peaty, smashing the world record.

In the tennis Andy Murray battled his way to a second successive gold while Justin Rose marked the return of golf as an Olympic sport with his gold medal performance. In the velodrome Britain's cycling team were expected to do well and didn't disappoint, winning six of the 10 disciplines and taking 11 medals in total.

Cyclist Jason Kenny became the most successful Briton competing in Rio with his trio of golds while his fiancé Laura Trott became Britain's most successful female Olympian, winning two golds to take her tally to four. Still with cycling, Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win eight medals while road sprint specialist Mark Cavendish finally claimed his first Olympic track title, a silver in the omnium.

Also in the saddle, but with a horse beneath it, Charlotte Dujardin won her second dressage gold while 58-year-old Nick Skelton was victorious in the show jumping arena. On water, Britain excelled in sailing, rowing and in both canoe and kayak events, claiming medals in all, including a fifth consecutive title in the men's four rowing. Katherine Grainger's silver in the women's double sculls saw her become the first British woman to win medals at five consecutive Olympics.

On the track Mo Farah did the double-double, winning gold in both 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the second consecutive Olympics, achieving his dream of a gold medal for each of his four children. There was only slight disappointment when Jess Ennis-Hill narrowly missed out on a second gold in the women's heptathlon, taking silver instead.

In the boxing ring, Nicola Adams won her second successive gold while Jade Jones achieved the same feat in taekwondo. One of the most joyful golds of the whole games was the GB women's hockey squad, snatching victory in a close-fought final against the Netherlands to make it eight wins from eight in their Olympic campaign.

And as the games drew to a close, brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee displayed true Yorkshire grit to take gold and silver respectively in the triathlon. There were many more memorable moments, including a surprise silver for Bryony Page in the trampoline and Sophie Hitchon winning Britain's first ever medal in the women's hammer.

Another winner was Rio itself, which managed to stage a spectacular Olympic Games despite all the pre-event controversy over the spiralling cost and fears over security, which proved unfounded. And the party isn't over yet, as the Rio 2016 Paralympics run from September 7th to 18th, celebrating the achievements and abilities of another set of truly remarkable athletes.

Next to stage the Games, in 2020, will be Tokyo, when both it and Team GB will have a hard act to follow!

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