London: Mayor Boris Johnson summed up the euphoric mood around Britain when he saluted the host country’s “extraordinary” haul of six Olympic gold medals on Saturday as UK media went wild with Games fever.
Two golds in rowing and one at the cycling velodrome were followed by a hat-trick of victories in athletics from Jessica Ennis (heptathlon), Greg Rutherford (long jump) and Mo Farah (10,000m).
Britain, who enjoyed their greatest Olympic day since 1908, took their collection of golds to 14 at the London Games to lie third in the overall medals table behind the US (26) and China (25).
“Their extraordinary efforts have brought rapture to streets, parks and living rooms in London and all over the country if not the planet,” Johnson said in a statement.
“It has been a remarkable first week and my hearty congratulations go to every single athlete that has taken part,” Johnson added.
“They have entertained billions of people around the world and I for one cannot wait to see what they serve up for week two.”
British newspapers continued the theme, the front page of the Sunday Times describing it as ‘Our Finest Olympic Hour’ alongside a spectacular picture of Rutherford flying through the air in mid-jump.
The Daily Telegraph had one word for it - ‘Sensational’. The headline ran above photos of all six British gold-medal victors from the second Saturday of the Games.
‘That Was Pure Gold’ was the Independent’s reaction with a sub-heading that read: ‘One by one we counted them in on another astonishing day of British Olympic success.’
In cycling, Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell crushed their own world record to humiliate the US in the team pursuit final, flying along a spine-chilling, ear-splitting wall of noise in the 6,000-capacity London Velodrome.
The trio added to the men’s pursuit and sprint teams titles and Victoria Pendleton’s keirin gold as Britain continued their utter domination, having broken eight world records and left their rivals only one gold in three days.
On Saturday, King, Rowsell and Trott, at 20 years and 102 days the youngest Olympic gold medallist in women track cycling, produced an awe-inspiring display of power and poise and looked on the verge to lap the Americans in the final. “They kept us going in that last kilometre. You couldn’t even feel your legs, you were just driving forward,” King told reporters.