Sophie Hitchon became the first British athlete in history to win an Olympic hammer throw medal after smashing a dramatic new personal best with her last attempt for bronze in Rio.
British record holder Hitchon, after a no throw, went into medal contention with an effort of 73.29m from her second attempt before being knocked out the top three in the fourth round.
However, Hitchon was not to be denied her moment and secured an historic bronze medal with a big British record of 74.54m with her last thrown sparking huge celebrations.
It was a final to remember not just for Hitchon’s medal but for Anita Wlodarczyk’s world record of 82.29m, set in the third round and bettering her previous mark by over a metre.
Hitchon’s bronze is Team GB’s fourth medal won in track and field in Rio after the gold, silver and bronze won by Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford on Saturday.
“I wanted to keep my mind quiet [going into the last round] and execute my technique, I have done it again, again and again in training but to do it in competition is a little bit different,” she said.
“Anita is amazing; I have been throwing against her for a few years now. Coming fourth at the World Championships [in 2015] and European Championships [in July], she is always wining but hopefully in few years we can all be clutching at her heels a little bit.
“I don’t think about the history of it going into it. I still think my fourth and fifth rounds were a little bit shaky, I knew I wasn’t quite pulling it together and I knew if I could pull it together it was going to go far, I just kept believing that.”
Elsewhere on the fourth day of track and field action, four out of five Brits advanced out of their heats with Jack Green and Jodie Williams both running season’s bests.
Green clocked 49.96 seconds to finish second in his hear and make the 400m hurdles semi-finals where he will be joined by Seb Rodger, who earned a reprieve after a disqualification.
Williams posted 22.69 in the heats of the 200m to make the semi-finals 12th fastest and where she’ll be joined by British record holder Dina Asher-Smith, who safely progressed also.
The same could not be said for Rob Mullett as he stalled in the 3000m steeplechase heats and Williams has her heart dead set on reaching the Olympic 200m final in Rio.
“I am happy; I think ours was quite an easy heat but the closest in terms of times. I am happy with that run,” she said.
“My aim here is make the final so I definitely expected to get through the rounds. I am just happy to be through, that’s what the rounds are all about.”