Football fans couldn’t help but notice that, after being presented with their runner-up medals following their Euros defeat last night, most of the England squad instantly removed them from around their necks.
Manager Gareth Southgate – who is on track for a knighthood for the role he played in getting England to their first major tournament final since 1966 – kept his medal on, but players like Captain Harry Kane, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kyle Walker and Marcus Rashford were seen removing them shortly after being presented with them.
Opinions on the players’ actions have been seriously divided online, however, with many fans slamming the players as ‘sore losers.’ One social media user wrote: “Absolutely appalling seeing them take their runners up medals off, we just got to a major tournament final and only have ourselves to blame for loss.”
Another commented: “I hope the England players take a leaf out of the Croatian players book after 2018. They were proud to make the final and still showed off their medals. A semi final and final in two consecutive tournaments. It’s brilliant and a lot to build upon.”
However, others defended their actions, pointing out that other teams from all over the world have done the exact same thing. One Twitter user explained: “A lot of comments about England team taking off their runners-up medals … It’s what almost every player, from every country, international or club, does after losing a final. They lost. They’re gutted. Don’t rub it in and make them wear it.”
Well, it turns out that the act isn’t an unusual thing for sportsmen and women to do because removing silver medals has been a trend in the sporting world in recent years.
Manchester City players could be seen removing medals after losing the Champions League final to Chelsea last season, for example, while England players did the same following their Rugby World Cup final defeat by South Africa in 2019.
While many of us could see this act as a sign of poor sportsmanship, in the eyes of an athlete partaking in group sport, a silver medal is nothing to be celebrated as it means you were beaten.
England’s dreams of Euros glory were shattered last night when Italy beat them 3-2 at a penalty shootout, only adding to the ‘fifty-five years of hurt’ but leaving the nation expressing pride at their achievements.
Greater Manchester olympians won 16 medals for Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics
They’ve done the region proud
Greater Manchester athletes won an astonishing sixteen Olympic medals for Team GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
This year’s delayed Olympic Games concluded last night, with Team GB bringing home an admirable sixty-five medals, ultimately placing them in fourth place just behind Japan, China and the US.
And, incredibly, athletes from Greater Manchester played a huge role in our country’s success at the massive sporting event – so much so that, if Greater Manchester had competed as a team in the Olympics, we would have ranked eleventh in the medal table ahead of countries such as Brazil, Canada and Jamaica. Yep, we’re that good.
Let’s meet our champions…
Swimmer James Guy, from Bury, won three medals for Team GB: Gold in the mens 4x200m swimming relay, gold in the mixed medley swimming relay and silver in the 4x100m medley swimming relay.
On his incredible achievement, Guy wrote on social media: “Olympic Champion! Something I thought I would never say.
“All the hard years of work and starting from the bottom as a junior to not having the Olympics I wanted in 2016. But we never gave up. We did it! Dreams do come true. We reset and we go again!”
Manc born BMX rider Charlotte Worthington did the city proud when she recovered from a fall and ultimately won gold in the women’s BMX park freestyle.
On her motivation to win gold, Worthington said: “I think it’s been gold medal or nothing this whole journey. I think as soon as we set the goal of gold medal, it was go big or go home.
“I’ve learned that if you gamble and you give yourself that chance, it’s going to pay off better and going to feel better than if you hold off and think what could have been.”
Georgia Taylor-Brown, from Manchester, won gold in the mixed triathlon relay and even overcame a tyre puncture to win silver in the women’s triathlon.
Speaking of the high and lows of winning her medals, the twenty-seven-year-old cyclist told Sky News: “As a kid I always wanted one of these medals. I just wanted to be an Olympian.
“But then you think ‘that’s a dream I had as a ten-year-old. I’m twenty-seven, is it ever going to become a reality?’ And yeah this morning it did.”
Stuart Bithell, from Rochdale, won gold in the men’s sailing 49’er class. Speaking of his achievement, he told the Dorset Echo: “I think the exact moment [we knew we were going to win] was the very last gybe at the end.
“They gybe and we gybed almost simultaneously, and I could just see the bow coming up and we were on a little bit of a wave and just got a little bit of surge and I thought, that’s the one.
“This is my last Olympics, almost certainly. As you can image it’s so nice to go away with the gold.”
Matt Walls, from Oldham, won gold in the men’s omnium cycling and silver in the men’s madison cycling.
On his accomplishment, twenty-three-year-old Walls said: “There was a bit of an unknown because the last track race I did was the Euros last year. But I’ve been going well on the road, getting in some quality racing this year, so I knew I was good coming in.
“I just didn’t know how it would translate on the track, how the tactics would be, because it had been so long. But I came into the scratch race feeling good, came away with that win and then I knew I’d got a chance as long as I played it smart. I knew I’d got the legs so it could work out and it did.”
Harlow-born Laura Kenny snatched gold in the women’s madison cycling and silver in the women’s team pursuit cycling.
Posting onto social media following her win with teammate Katie Archibald, Kenny wrote: “I’m not even sure what to say. We worked so hard back in Manchester, gelling as a pairing. I have never felt so ready for a race.
“I felt so unbelievably nervous at the start and all I kept saying to myself was your with @_katiearchibald just listen to her, you trust what she says!
“Turns out we didn’t need to say very much at all. We knew where each other wanted to be and we stuck to our plan. I am so so proud of us and everyone behind the scenes helping us achieve this gold medal.”
Jason Kenny, from Bolton, won gold in the men’s keirin cycling and silver in the men’s team sprint cycling – overall, he scooped seven medals.
Kenny said, as per the BBC: “Seven gold medals is really special. When you look back on the ones you have already got, it seems pretty easy. Then when you try and get more, you remember how hard it is.”
On his future, he added: “Before today I had all but given up, I was counting my career in days and races as opposed to years, but maybe I have bought myself more time now.”
Wigan’s very own Keely Hodgkinson, nineteen, brought home silver in the women’s 800m.
The young athlete was sponsored by Liverpool-born millionaire Barrie Wells, who hailed her accomplishment as ‘incredible.’ He told ITV News: “I never expected her to win it, but I thought she could get second or third because she’s just fearless and she’s got great finishing speed.
“She finishes faster than anyone in the world. Incredible achievement.”
Stockport’s Joshua Bugajski won bronze in the men’s eight rowing.
Bugajski, who has an unusual background in rowing having grown up in a deprived part of Stockport, gained viral fame for his scathing comments on his coach, Jurgen Grobler’s methods.
“I’m going to be brave and say something the crew don’t want me to say. I popped a bottle of champagne when Jurgen retired. I had three very dark years under him, I’d be coward not to say on behalf of the guys who are back home and didn’t make it onto the team and that got the darker side of Jurgen.
“It’s the end of an era for British rowing but it’s the start of a much better era. We’ve had six boats come fourth, on the cusp of a medal, and we’ve had two medals. Come Paris we’ve got a lot of potential but we need to be honest about where it went wrong.”
Teenage Olympic star blurts out ‘What the f**k?!’ on live TV after she’s stunned by win
Well done Keely!
A teenage Olympic star from Greater Manchester was spotted on camera giving a very relatable outburst.
Keely Hodgkinson, from Atherton, was so stunned after she won silver medal the women’s 800m Final she blurted out ‘What the fuck?!’ live on TV.
The 19-year-old took home Team Great Britain’s first track medal of the Tokyo Olympics during her Games debut.
She also set a new British national record for the women’s 800m, completing it in 1 minute and 55.21 seconds and beating Kelly Holmes’ previous record – which was set six years before Hodgkinson was born.
And if that wasn’t enough, it was also the first time Team GB had won a medal in the race for 17 years.
Hodgkinson, who was in tears after the race, said that she’d left everything on the track as she spoke to BBC Sport.
She said: “I think it is just one of those things where you know something like that is possible but whether it comes out you just don’t know. It was such a good race.”
She also revealed she’d been speaking to Holmes, saying the runner was a legend and that she looked up to her, adding: “I have been speaking to her for the past couple of days and she is a lovely person”.
Holmes took to social media to congratulate Hodgkinson, jokingly saying that it was ‘about time’ someone broke her record.
Holmes added: “So pleased for her, Keely’s maturity as an athlete is phenomenal.”
Team USA took the gold and bronze medals in the event, with 19-year-old Athing Mu taking the top spot and Raevyn Rogers, 24, coming in third.
England captain Harry Kane to present Denmark with gift for Christian Eriksen ahead of Euros semi-final
A beautiful gesture from the England team
Harry Kane and the rest of the England squad will be handing over a gift to Denmark tonight in a symbolic gesture of unity following Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest last month.
In the moments leading up to tonight’s Euros semi-final match, it is believed that Kane will gift his Danish counterpart, Simon Kjaer with a signed England shirt baring Eriksen’s name.
Kane, who was team-mates with Eriksen at Tottenham, wished him nothing but all the best in his recovery.
He told talkSPORT: “I spoke to him after what happened to him and wished him well. He sent me a quick message back to say he’s okay.
“I kind of left him alone. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for not just him but his family as well. I’m sure he’ll be cheering against me on Wednesday, and rightly so. He will back his country all the way.”
The heartfelt gesture comes in the wake of Eriksen’s cardiac arrest during Denmark’s match against Finland on June 12th.
Eriksen collapsed on the pitch in front of his team mates, his wife, and thousands of horrified fans.
The twenty-nine-year old was resuscitated there and then on the pitch before being taken to the hospital, where he had a cardioverter defibrillator implanted. He is now at home recovering.
England will take on Denmark in the semi-final of the Euros tonight at Wembley at 8pm.