Day of what might have been for medal-shy Team GB as podium opportunities slip away

Ross McLean
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Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 4
Great Britain finished fifth in the women's gymnastic team event (Source: Getty)

Great Britain slumped into collective despair as a series of opportunities to add to their medal haul frustratingly slipped by on day four of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Chances came and went in gymnastics, canoeing, diving and eventing as Team GB failed to swell their tally of four medals, while Adam Peaty’s heroics in the pool in the early hours of Monday morning remain their only gold.

Not for 88 years have Great Britain netted an Olympic medal in the women’s gymnastic team event and the all-conquering United States, champions at London 2012, ensured that trend continued last night.

High hopes of podium finish abounded for a team consisting of Claudia Fragapane, Becky Downie, Ellie Downie, Ruby Harrold and Amy Tinkler, although a fifth-placed finish was all they could muster.

There was disappointment too for much-fancied David Florence in the men’s canoe slalom after the three-time world champion failed to recover from an early mistake and finished 10th. Scot Florence is back in action tomorrow in the C2 double.

“Obviously I’m disappointed, but that’s that unfortunately,” said Florence. “I’ll treat the C2 exactly the same as if I’d won this. I’ve got to prepare to the best of my ability, get to the final round and then try and deliver in that final run.

“The margins are tiny in this sport, especially when it comes down to one run. It’s tough when you’ve got guys competing in so many rounds throughout the season and for some guys it doesn’t even convert to getting to the Olympic Games.”

Divers Tonia Couch and Lois Toulson were unable to emulate the medal-winning endeavours of Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow from 24 hours earlier as the duo had to be content with fifth place in the synchronised 10m platform at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre.

Great Britain have not won a women’s diving medal for 56 years but Couch and Toulson, who only became partners at the end of last year, finished 16.74 points shy of third-placed Canada. China claimed gold in a pool which had adopted a strange green colour from the previous evening.

Team GB also missed out on a team eventing medal for the first time since 1996 after finishing fifth. They only accrued four penalties in the show jumping phase of the three-event competition but paid the price for struggling in the cross country on Monday.

“Sport is something where you need that bit of luck and we just didn’t have it,” said equestrian William Fox-Pitt, who was competing 10 months after being placed in an induced coma following a fall.

“It is the same in every sport. Our sport is a very up and down sport and we had a down day yesterday. It was very expensive and very disappointing because it cost us dearly.”

Rower Katherine Copeland, meanwhile, will not retain her Olympic crown after she and Charlotte Taylor finished third in the repechage of the lightweight double sculls.