The bookmakers have been keen to get punters interested in the London Olympics this year but they got more than they bargained for last Saturday when Team GB struck gold six times! It proved to be Great Britain’s most successful day at the Olympics for over 100 years. Six gold medals on Team GB’s greatest Olympic day. Incredibly, it could have been even worse for the bookmakers but they were saved a monster payout by a narrow defeat in the double sculls for Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter and Team GB’s elimination from the football tournament after a penalty shootout.
The Olympic Stadium was packed to capacity to see Jessica Ennis win the heptathlon after the golden girl of British athletics was supported to odds-on favourite by patriotic supporters. Many had doubled up with Mo Farah in the 10,000 metres final. Less obvious was the long jump victory of Greg Rutherford but the 25-year-old from Milton Keynes jumped to 8.31m to become the first British winner of the event since Lynn Davies in 1964.
Britain’s golden day was started by two more golds in the rowing and another in cycling. At Eton Dorney, it was another glorious day on the water with Britain winning two more golds and narrowly losing a third to take silver. The men’s coxless four won gold in imperious fashion and were quickly followed by Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking winning the lightweight women’s double sculls in similar style. The drama on the water did not end there as the GB pairing in the double sculls were allowed a restart after a mechanical failure and looked certain to add to the gold rush. They led almost from the gun but were agonisingly caught in the last ten strokes by a determined Denmark. The despair shown by the narrowly beaten Brits even had the commentators in tears.
At the Velodrome, Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell and Dani King smashed the world record in winning the women’s team pursuit. Everything was set up for Jessica Ennis to seal her victory in the 800m and she did not let her supporters down, surging to victory to trigger a night of wild celebration for GB’s Olympic team. London Games chairman Lord Coe said it was the “the greatest night of British athletics”.
Bookmakers were spared further agony when Daniel Sturridge saw his penalty saved as Stuart Pearce’s makeshift soccer team crashed out of the football. Their relief may be short-lived as heavily backed favourites Brazil look set to trigger a massive payout should they defeat Mexico in the final. The athletics have so far proved costly for the layers with Usain Bolt proving one of the most popular bets in the 100m. His victory there left the bookmakers with liabilities on the 100m/200m double and Ladbrokes have slashed his odds to 1-6 for the longer race. Another athlete eyeing a big double is Mo Farah who is now 7-4 to add the 5000m title to the gold medal he claimed in the 10000 on Saturday night.
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