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DALEY THOMPSON: Best Olympic Games ever for Team GB? It was certainly right up there! 

DALEY THOMPSON: The best Olympic Games ever for Team GB? It was certainly right up there… everyone is talking about Tokyo and we all now think we’re experts on the niche sports

The Tokyo Olympics was hailed as our ‘best Games ever’ after Sunday’s closing ceremony.

It’s certainly a tough debate. In London, we won the same number of medals but more golds so you could argue that was a little bit better. But on the other hand, Tokyo was an ‘away game’, so that was harder!

It has been a fantastic Games for Team GB and in terms of performance, it’s right up there with our best ever.

Team GB had a fine Olympic Games as they managed to win 22 gold medals in Tokyo

I’m never too caught up in the number of medals won, but it seems we’ve done brilliantly.

The only way to do well in these big, multi-sport festivals is to put money into it as we have done. The British public love to see us up there in the medal tables and that’s where we are.

The way forward is to keep putting this money in — but for the individual sports it is more about getting the kids into the training centres.

We have had plenty of success for the last five or six Games, but I don’t know if we have the facilities and clubs in place to mop up all the kids who want to do it. The Games are the shop window, but now we have to fill all the gymnastics clubs and make sure we have enough lanes in swimming pools.

The stand-out moment for me was the heavyweight weightlifter Emily Campbell — I really liked her — and sports such as swimming, boxing and sailing were fantastic.

Heavyweight weightlifter Emily Campbell poses with her silver medal on the podium

Heavyweight weightlifter Emily Campbell poses with her silver medal on the podium

I’d barely heard of Duncan Scott but he’s incredible, an unsung hero which seems a slightly silly statement given he won four medals.

And Adam Peaty is up there with the very best in British history.

It was Team GB’s chef de mission Mark England who claimed these were our best Games ever — he has to say that as he’s in charge of it — but it’s certainly up there. Medals speak for themselves, but also we are beginning to understand just how to prepare for an Olympic Games, and we are doing it really well.

We can still raise standards, though, and change things that we get wrong every four years. Just because we’ve been successful doesn’t mean we haven’t done some things wrong.

We didn’t win a single gold on the track — the first time since Atlanta 1996.

More than 45 countries have won medals in athletics, so they are definitely harder to win than some sports where there are only five or six nations with medal chances.

We ended up with three silvers and three bronzes, which is probably about par for the course, just the right side of OK. It was the very minimum we should have had.

A gold would have made all the difference and there was only a hundredth of a second stopping that in the men’s 4x100m relay final.

Our two best chances for medals were injured or under-trained — Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

In all sports, though, it is cyclical. We haven’t done as well on the track in Tokyo, but we will be back. Sometimes you have a good group of athletes and sometimes you have a great group.

What also really excited me was the niche sports. I really loved watching the climbing! It was fantastic and I would really love to go and see it live. I bet there are hundreds of kids who would love to do that — the only thing that would worry me is whether it is accessible and cheap enough for kids to go and enjoy it.

It was always going to be a strange Games because of what the world is going through at the moment. But the world needed it — a bit of sunshine, inspiration and incredible performances.

Sportspeople never let us down — they always perform well, whether we are talking about Team GB’s athletes or international ones.

I was out in Birmingham on Monday doing some Olympic marketing. Everybody was talking about the Games — old and young people watched something and they’re all experts at niche sports now! I just keep saying, ‘Go and try it, find a new sport, because next time it might be you on the podium.’

Daley Thompson was talking to Lewis Steele.

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