Adam Peaty has won Team GB’s first gold of the Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title.
Peaty was the clear favourite going into the race and delivered on the expectation to take Britain’s medal haul to four and the first gold.
Fellow Brit James Wilby finished fifth, while Dutch swimmer Arno Kamminga took silver and Italy’s Nicolo Martinenghi finished third.
Earlier, 23-year-old Alex Yee, from Brockley, southeast London, finished second in the men’s triathlon.
He was making his Olympic debut and led for much of the 10km (6.2 miles) run before Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt produced a stunning breakaway in the Tokyo heat.
New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde took silver with Brit Jonny Brownlee, who was bidding for a medal at a third successive Olympics having won bronze in London and silver in Rio, finishing fifth.
The event got off to a bizarre beginning when half of the athletes were blocked from diving into the water by a boat, leading to a false start.
Yee stayed in contention, leading the chase group across the line in the cycling before taking the lead in the run.
Both Yee and Brownlee were at the fore going into the final lap but Blummenfelt signalled his intent by making a break on the third lap that split the pack – with only Yee and Wilde able to hang on.
The Norwegian made his bid for gold in the final, in what many thought was a premature burst, but the chasers couldn’t keep up and he ended up winning in the time of 1:45:04.
Blummenfelt was clearly emotional at the finish line, falling to the ground and requiring medical attention.
The 27-year-old won Norway’s first Olympic medal and was taken away in a wheelchair after the race.
Yee got Team GB off to a good start on day three after a disappointing day two on Sunday which saw several medal hopeful’s drop out of the Games.
This was Britain’s third medal so far, with swimmer Adam Peaty hoping to win Team GB’s first gold in the 100m breaststroke later.
Speaking after his win, Yee said: “It’s a bit bizarre really. I’m just a normal guy from southeast London. Dreams really do come true.
“I am just over the moon. I was already deep in the well and dug that little bit in my soul. It wasn’t enough to catch Kristian but it was enough to get silver.”
Elsewhere, Team GB’s rugby sevens men’s team comfortably beat Canada 24-0.
They will play hosts Japan in their second game later today, with hopes of going one better from Rio 2016 and taking gold.
Also on Monday:
- World champion Margaret MacNeil of Canada won gold in the 100m women’s breaststroke, with China’s Yufei Zhang finishing second and Australian Emma McKeon taking bronze
- Great Britain’s team of Tom Hall, Patrick Huston and James Woodgate advanced to the quarter-finals of the men’s team archery event. The trio beat Indonesia 6-0 and will meet the Netherlands.
- In the 200m freestyle semi-finals, British swimmers Scott Duncan finished as the fastest qualifier to seal his place in the final, with fellow Brit Tom Dean also booking his place in the final as the fourth fastest.
- In the 100m women’s breaststroke semi-finals, Mona Mc Sharry of Ireland qualified as eight fastest but Sarah Vasey of Britain missed out.
- 16 new games-related COVID-19 cases, including three athletes. One game-related personnel was in the village.
On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee relaxed its health rules and said medallists can remove their masks on the podium for photos – for 30 seconds.
This, says the IOC, acknowledges “a unique moment in their sporting career.”
Health protocols agreed to ahead of the Tokyo Olympics to control COVID-19 infections had required all medallists to keep masks on for the whole ceremony.
But athletes do have to stay on their own podium step and must put masks back on for group photos on the top step.
The first few days of the Games have been dominated by warm weather but Storm Nepartak could cause some delays this week.
The tropical storm formed in the Pacific Ocean on Friday and is forecast to make a turn to the northwest, eventually impacting central and northern Japan.
It could cause delays to water sports, with organisers already forced to reschedule rowing events due to inclement weather.