Jessica Ennis hopes Olympics can inspire a generation

 

Jessica Ennis hopes Great Britain's triple triumph in the Olympic Stadium on Saturday can "inspire a generation".

Ennis claimed gold in the Olympic heptathlon to kick-start a remarkable 45 minutes for the host nation.

Greg Rutherford then took gold in the long jump before Mo Farah capped a stunning night by winning the 10,000m.

"Three golds is unbelievable," said Ennis. "Hopefully we are inspiring a new generation and it'll have a knock-on effect for the next few years."

Britain won a total of six gold medals and one silver on Saturday - their most successful day at an Olympics in 104 years.

Farah powers to Olympic gold

Britain have more medal chances with Andy Murray in two tennis finals, plus Ben Ainslie and the pair of Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson going for sailing medals.

In the gymnastics apparatus final, Louis Smith goes for Britain and Ed Clancy is another British hope on the cycling track.

In athletics, Christine Ohuruogu will try to defend her 400m title, before the men's 100m final.

By the time Sheffield star Ennis entered the Olympic Stadium for the final event of the heptathlon, Britain had already won two rowing golds, in the men's four and women's double sculls, plus track cycling gold in the women's team pursuit.

"We've witnessed something sensational," said Lord Coe, chairman of Games organisers Locog and a two-time former 1500m gold medallist. "I've never known a night in UK athletics like that, it was unbelievable."

He also told BBC Radio 5 Live it must be considered one of Britain's greatest ever days in sport and, like Ennis, hoped it would prove a catalyst for the younger generation.

"This is the best opportunity any of us will have in our lifetime to get more young kids into sport," he said. "We've really got to build on that."

Andy Hunt, chef de mission of the British team, added: "What unfolded over the course of a single day has been years in the making. It is a day unlike any that has been seen in the modern history of British Olympic sport and it is a day our country will never forget.

"Most importantly, it is a day for the athletes - the Olympic champions - and the millions of supporters throughout our country who have lifted them on their shoulders and helped make this possible."

Saturday's stunning haul took GB's medal total for London 2012 to 14 and left them clear in third place, behind the United States and China.

It also put the host nation well on the way to eclipsing their tally of 19 golds at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Analysis

Denise Lewis on Ennis: "It's hard to find the words. We have witnessed greatness, we have witnessed someone who had a dream to come and deliver on the world stage."

Michael Johnson on Farah: "Mo went in with a race plan. He showed great enthusiasm and guts. I am really pleased for him because he had a lot of expectation on his shoulders."

Darren Campbell on Rutherford: "He is so talented but he hasn't had that bit of luck to get onto the podium in a major championship before. This time he has had that little bit and now he is the Olympic champion."

"I have achieved my goal," said the 26-year-old Ennis, who has been one of the faces of London 2012 in the build-up to the Games.

"You never think you are really going to get there. Then you do and it's just amazing. There has been so much pressure on me, but I have had so much support."

Ennis, who missed the 2008 Games in Beijing, thanked the 80,000-capacity crowd inside the Olympic Stadium for their backing, a sentiment echoed by Farah.

"The atmosphere when you walk into that stadium, it's like someone gave you 10 cups of coffee," he said. "I was pumped up so much. If it wasn't for the crowd, I don't think I would have won that race. It was very close."

Farah uprooted his family, moving to the United States to spend more time with his new coach, three-time New York Marathon winner Alberto Salazar.

"You have to make sacrifices," said Farah, who was born in Somalia before moving to London as an eight-year-old.

"I moved my family, changing my whole lifestyle, a new coach, moved to the other side of the world."

But the sacrifices have paid off for the 29-year-old runner.

"To be Olympic champion right on your doorstep is the best moment of my life and to see my wife and daughter on the track was incredible," said the world 5,000m champion. "It hasn't quite sunk in yet. It's unbelievable."

Great Britain's golden Saturday

Rutherford is already thinking about a defence of his Olympic title at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"I want to go through to Rio and become a double Olympic champion, then maybe keep going until I'm 33 and become triple Olympic champion," said the 25-year-old from Milton Keynes. "You have to have confidence in yourself."

He also believes he can jump much further than 8.31m, the distance that gave him gold.

"I expected to jump much further than that," he said. "Technically, I was very poor. Once I get it together, people better watch out because I'm going to jump very, very far. The sky's the limit. I want to win everything. Why not?"

UK Sport, the body that funds Britain's Olympians, set Team GB a target of at least 48 medals before the Games began. Britain already has 29.

They are expected to add to that tally on Sunday, with a number of strong contenders for gold.

Ainslie can win his fourth Olympic gold from 14:00 BST if he gets the better of Danish rival Jonas Hogh-Christensen in the Finn medal race.

Going for gold

London 2012 is already Great Britain's joint third most successful Olympic Games. Below is list of GB's best gold medal hauls:

  • 1908, London: 56
  • 2008, Beijing: 19
  • 2012, London: 14
  • 1920, Antwerp: 14
  • 1900, Paris: 12
  • 1912, Stockholm: 10

Fellow Sailors Percy and Simpson are also looking good to defend their Olympic title in the Star class at 13:00.

Clancy is in a strong position to win another track cycling gold for Team GB. He stands fourth in the omnium after three events, with another three to come on Sunday. The final event, the time trial, begins at 18:16.

Murray will also play for double gold at Wimbledon. He takes on Roger Federer in the men's singles final at 14:00, before teaming up with Laura Robson for the mixed doubles. Both matches take place on Centre Court.

In gymnastics, Smith - who won a bronze in 2008 - goes in the apparatus final at 15:41.

Back on the track, Ohuruogu has a chance of defending her Olympic title in the 400m at 21:10.

Troubled by injury, she is beginning to show signs of returning to her best form, although American Sanja Richards-Ross and Russian Antonina Krivoshapka will the start the final as favourites.

The evening of athletics will finish with the men's 100m final at 21:50 BST.

Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Asafa Powell, Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin are all through to the semi-finals, which take place at 19:45, as are the British trio of Dwain Chambers, Adam Gemili and James Desaolu .