A year to go to Tokyo and Jade Jones wants more gold

The last time the Olympic Games were held in Tokyo we were still awaiting the first individual gold medal by a Welsh athlete.

That was back in 1964, yet when the Games return to the Japanese capital in a year’s time we will have one athlete chasing a third successive title. Lynn Davies may have broken through the glass ceiling with his long jump gold 55 years ago, but Jade Jones is banking on shattering records at her third Games in 12 months time.

The Taekwondo queen from Flint first struck gold in London in 2012 and went on to successfully defend her title in Rio four years later. Only two Welsh athletes before her have won three or more Olympic gold medals – Paul Radmilovic and Richard Meade.

‘Raddy’ leads the way with four gold medals from five Games in the swimming pool – one relay gold and three in water polo – while Meade was a team gold medalist in the three-day event in 1968 and a team and individual winner in Munich in 1972.

But the 26-year-old Jones is honing in on her own piece of history in Tokyo by becoming the first person in TKD to win three gold medals. Irene Steer was the first Welsh woman to win a gold medal way back in 1912 and it wasn’t until Nicole Cook won in the road race in Beijing in 2008 that another female Welsh athlete topped the podium.

Four years ago in Brazil, Jones was one of three Welsh women who struck gold and they will all be back chasing more in Tokyo. Elinor Barker, like Jones, became a world champion this year on the track and will be hoping to emulate her Team Pursuit medal with the Team GB cycling squad, while Hannah Mills is aiming for a third medal in the 470 Class in sailing and back-to-back titles.

“No one has ever won three Olympic gold medals and I want to become a legend,” admitted Jones after finally being crowned world champion in the -57kg category this year. “I always felt I’d never truly be happy even if I became a three-time Olympic champion. The World Championships is one of the most prestigious events in our sport and I’m so happy to be able to say I’m world champion.”

Now comes the big push for Welsh athletes in every Olympic sport. There was a 23 (15 women / 8 men) strong Welsh contingent in Team GB in Rio and all the signs are that there could be a similar number heading to Tokyo.

There were four gold and seven silver medals to celebrate from the Welsh contingent four years ago – quite a contrast to the haul from the Tokyo Games in 1964. Then there were 11 Welsh athletes in the British team, with Davies bringing home the only medal.

But what a medal it was for Wales! ‘Lynn the Leap’ may only have qualified for the final with his very last jump, but he went on to beat two of the long jump greats of his era in reigning champion Ralph Boston and Igor Ter-Ovanesyan.

The American and Russian had tried in vain to get the officials to turn the long jump around so the wind would be at their backs. The wind and the rain certainly didn’t bother the boy from Nantymoel.
Ter-Ovanesyan took the lead in the first round with 25ft 6 ¼in, although Boston moved ahead in round two with 25ft 9 ¼in and added an extra inch in the fourth round. Coming into the fifth round of six, Davies was in third place.

“I remember thinking ‘this is it’ as I glanced up at the flag at the top of the stadium. Ralph Boston had told me about this in New York six months previously. ‘If the flag drops,’ he had said, ‘it’s a good indication that the wind is about to fade inside the stadium’. As I looked up, it dropped dead,” recalled Davies.

What followed was the greatest jump of his life. After 20 perfect strides he hit the board and went out to a British record distance of 26ft 5 ¾in (8.07m) to take the lead. Ter-Ovanesyan responded with 26ft 2 ¾in (7.99m) in the final round, leaving Boston, the reigning Olympic champion and world record holder, with one final jump to defend his title.

It was the American’s best jump of the day, and it was mighty close. The board showed 26ft 4 ¼in (8.03m) and Davies had become the first Welshman to win an individual Olympic gold medal.

Hopefully, there will be an even bigger gold rush from Welsh athletes next year when the Olympic Games return to Tokyo.


1908 LONDON 5 medals
Paulo Radmilovic, Water Polo – GOLD
Paulo Radmilovic, 4×200 freestyle swimming – GOLD
Albert Gladstone, Men’s coxed eights – GOLD
Reginald Brooks-King, Archery (Men’s Double York Round) – SILVER
Welsh team, Hockey – BRONZE

1912 STOCKHOLM 5 medals (1 woman)
David Jacobs, 4x100m sprint relay – GOLD
Irene Steer, 4x100m freestyle swimming – GOLD
Paulo Radmilovic, Water Polo – GOLD
William Titt, gymnastics – BRONZE
William Cowhig, gymnastics (men’s team all-round) – BRONZE

1920 ANTWERP 4 medals
Paulo Radmilovic, Water Polo – GOLD
Christopher Jones, Water Polo – GOLD
Cecil Griffiths, 4x400m relay – GOLD
John Ainsworth-Davies, 4x400m relay – GOLD

1932 LOS ANGELES 4 medals (2 women)
Hugh Edwards, Coxless pairs rowing – GOLD
Hugh Edwards, Coxless fours rowing – GOLD
Valerie Davies, 100m backstroke swimming – BRONZE
Valerie Davies, 4x100m freestyle swimming – BRONZE

1948 LONDON 5 medals
Thomas Richards, Marathon – SILVER
Ken Jones, 4x100m sprint relay – SILVER
Ron Davies, Hockey – SILVER
William Griffiths, Hockey – SILVER
Sir Harry Llewellyn, Team show jumping – BRONZE

1952 HELSINKI 4 medals
Sir Harry Llewellyn, Team show jumping – GOLD
John Disley, 3000m steeplechase –BRONZE
Graham Dadds, Hockey – BRONZE
John Taylor, Hockey – BRONZE

1960 ROME 2 medals
David Broome, Show jumping – BRONZE
Nick Whitehead, 4x100m sprint relay – BRONZE

1964 TOKYO 1 medal
Lynn Davies, Long jump – GOLD

1968 MEXICO CITY 3 medals
Richard Meade, Equestrian – GOLD
Martyn Woodroffe, 200m fly swimming – SILVER
David Broome, Show jumping – BRONZE

1972 MUNICH 3 medals
Richard Meade, Three-day equestrian team event – GOLD
Richard Meade, Three-day equestrian individual event – GOLD
Ralph Evans, light-flyweight boxing – BRONZE

1980 MOSCOW 2 medals (1 woman)
Michelle Probert, 4x400m relay – BRONZE
Charles Wiggin, Coxless pair rowing – BRONZE

1984 LOS ANGELES 1 medal
Robert Cattrall, Hockey – BRONZE

1988 SEOUL 1 medal
Colin Jackson, 110m hurdles – SILVER

1992 BARCELONA 1 medal (1 woman)
Helen Morgan, Hockey – BRONZE

1996 ATHENS 2 medals
Jamie Baulch, 4x400m relay – SILVER
Iwan Thomas, 4x400m relay – SILVER

2000 SYDNEY 1 medal
Ian Barker, Sailing (49er class) – SILVER

2004 ATHENS 1 medal
David Davies, 1,500m freestyle swimming – BRONZE

2008 BEIJING 5 medals (1 women)
Nicole Cooke, Women’s road race cycling – GOLD
Tom James, Coxless fours rowing – GOLD
Geraint Thomas, Cycling team pursuit – GOLD
Tom Lucy, eight-man rowing – SILVER
David Davies, 10km open-water swim – SILVER

2012 LONDON 7 medals (3 women)
Tom James, Coxless fours rowing – GOLD
Geraint Thomas, Cycling team pursuit – GOLD
Jade Jones, -67kg Taekwondo – GOLD
Freddie Evans, boxing – SILVER
Chris Bartley, rowing (lt wt men’s four) – SILVER
Hannah Mills, sailing (470 class) – SILVER
Sarah Thomas, hockey – BRONZE

2016 RIO – 11 Medals (8 women)
Hannah Mills, 470 Sailing – GOLD
Jade Jones, -58kg Taekwondo – GOLD
Owain Doull, Men’s Team Pursuit – GOLD
Elinor Barker, Women’s Team Pursuit – GOLD
James Davies, Rugby Sevens – SILVER
Sam Cross, Rugby Sevens – SILVER
Victoria Thornley, Women’s Double Sculls – SILVER
Rebecca James, Keirin – SILVER
Rebecca James, sprint – SILVER
Jazz Carlin, 400 metres freestyle – SILVER
Jazz Carlin, 800 metres freestyle – SILVER


1896 (Athens); 1900 (Paris); 1904 (St Louis) None

1906 – Athens (The Intercalated Games) 2 (No women)
Wallis Walters (Athletics); Paulo Radmilovic (Swimming)

1908 – London 27 (24 men / 3 women)
Louisa Bower, Reginald Brooks-King, Doris Day, Katherine Mudge (Archery); Wyatt Gould, Wallis Walters, Alf Yeoumans (Athletics); John Lloyd (Boxing); Bert Andews (Cycling – DNC); PA Baker, Sid Domville, George Meade, Charlie Sederman, William Titt, Edward Lewis Watkins (Gymnastics); Frank Connah, Llewellyn Evans, Arthur Law, Robert Lyne, Wilfred Pallot, Frederick Phillips, Edwin Richards, Charles Shepherd, Philip Turnbull, Bertrand Turnbull, Ralph Williams (Hockey); Albert Gladstone (Rowing); Paulo Radmilovic (Swimming & Water Polo)
Note: Welsh hockey team finished 3rd= in Hockey
Note: William Davies (Shooting) competed for Canada. He was born in Merthyr.

1912 – Stockholm 5 (4 men / 1 woman)
William Cowhig, William Titt (Gymnastics); David Jacobs (Athletics); Paulo Radmilovic, Irene Steer (Swimming & Water Polo)

1920 – Antwerp 10 (No women)
John Ainsworth-Davies, Cecil Griffiths (Athletics); Chris Jones, Paulo Radmilovic (Water Polo); William Cowhig, Sid Domville, W Edwards, Stanley Leigh, E Pugh (Gymnastics); Enoch Jenkins (Shooting)

1924 – Paris 7 (No women)
Tom Hopkins, Ernie Leigh, Stanley Leigh (Gymnastics); Enoch Jenkins, Sgt David Lewis (Shooting); Paulo Radmilovic (Water Polo); William Randall (Weightlifting)

1928 – Amsterdam 6 (No women)
Reg Thomas (Athletics); Cuthbert Taylor (Boxing); Bert Cronin, Arthur Whitford (Gymnastics); William Quick, Paulo Radmilovic (Water Polo);

1932 – Los Angeles 3 (2 men / 1 women)
Reg Thomas (Athletics); Hugh Edwards (Rowing); Valerie Davies (Swimming)

1936 – Berlin 2 (No women)
Albert Barnes (Boxing); Leslie Palmer (Water Polo)

1948 – London 17 (15 men / 2 women)
Tom Richards, Ken Jones (Athletics); Harry Llewellyn (Equestrian); Ronald Davies, William Griffiths (Hockey); Ken Buffin, Cissie Davies, Pat Evans, Glyn Hopkins, Percy May, Ivor Vice, (Gymnastics); David John Meyrick (Rowing); Gwyn Manning, Frank Donovan (Soccer); John Brockway, Anthony Summers (Swimming); Trevor Lewis (Water Polo)

1952 – Helsinki 18 (12 men / 6 women)
John Disley (Athletics); Dai Dower, Terry Gooding (Boxing); Harry Llewellyn (Equestrian); Ken Buffin, Cissie Davies, Graham Harcourt, Gwynedd Lewis, Margaret Morgan, Valerie Mullins, Margaret Thomas, Jack Whitford, (Gymnastics); Graham Dadds (Hockey); Enoch Jenkins (Shooting); Phyllis Linton, John Brockway (Swimming); Melvin Barnett, Iorrie Evans (Weightlifting)

1956 – Melbourne (Equestrian in Stockholm) 6 (No women)
John Disley, Robert Shaw (Athletics); Geoffrey Cutter, Colin Dale, David Thomas (Hockey); John Brockway (Swimming)

1960 – Rome 10 (6 men / 4 women)
John Merriman, Nick Whitehead (Athletics); David Broome (Equestrian); Ken Buffin, Gwynedd Lewis-Lingard, John Mulhall, Patricia Perks, Dorothy Summers, Margaret Thomas-Neale (Gymnastics); Chris Saunders-Griffiths (Hockey)
Note: Averil Williams (Athletics) went on to compete for Wales.

1964 – Tokyo 11 (9 men / 2 women)
Lynn Davies, Ron Jones (Athletics); Colin Lewis (Cycling); David Broome, Richard Meade (Equestrian); Denise Goddard, John Mulhall (Gymnastics); Geoff Cutter, Roger Sutton (Hockey); Alan Petherbridge (Judo); Glenda Phillips-Adams (Swimming)
Note: John Llewellyn Davies (Athletics) was the son of Welsh parents who won a bronze medal for New Zealand.

1968 – Mexico City 11 (No women)
Howard Davies, Lynn Davies, Ron Jones, Clive Longe (Athletics); David Broome, Richard Meade (Equestrian); Peter Wilson (Hockey); Roddy Jones, Martyn Woodroffe (Swimming); Peter Arthur, Terry Perdue (Weightlifting)

1972 – Munich 17 (13 men / 4 women)
Lynne Evans (Archery); Lynn Davies, Ruth Martin-Jones, Berwyn Price (Athletics); Ralph Evans, Maurice O’Sullivan (Boxing); David Broome, Richard Meade (Equestrian); Pamela Hopkins (Gymnastics); Peter Marsh, David Savage (Hockey); Pat Beavan, Sean Maher, Mike Richards (Swimming); Peter Arthur, Ieuan Owen, Terry Perdue (Weightlifting)

1976 – Montreal 8 (5 men / 3 women)
Berwyn Price (Athletics); Colin Jones (Boxing); Debbie Johnsey, Richard Meade (Equestrian); Anne Adams, Mandy James, Sean Maher (Swimming); John Burns (Weightlifting)
Note: Tony Simmons (Athletics) born in Maesteg, ran for GB but was running for England at the time.
Note: Rowland Fernyhough (Equestrian) was born at Abervechan Hall, in Powys.

1980 – Moscow 6 (5 men / 1 women)
Roger Hackney, Michelle Probert (Athletics); Colin Moynihan, Charlie Wiggin (Rowing); Jeff Bryce, John Burns (Weightlifting)

1984 – Los Angeles 15 (13 men / 2 women)
Steve Barry, Roger Hackney, Venissa Head, Steve Jones, Michelle Scutt, Nigel Walker (Athletics); David Griffiths (Boxing); Robert Morgan (Diving); Carl Beynon, Andrew Morris (Gymnastics); Bob Cattrall (Hockey); Colin Moynihan, Charlie Wiggin (Rowing); David Morgan, Gary Taylor (Weightlifting)

1988 – Seoul 18 (10 men / 8 women)
Roger Hackney, Phil Harries, Paul Edwards, Colin Jackson, Helen Miles, Sallyanne Short, Angela Tooby, Susan Tooby, Kirsty Wade (Athletics); Sally Hodge, Louise Jones (Cycling); Robert Morgan (Diving); David Broome (Equestrian); Andrew Morris (Gymnastics); Wendy Banks (Hockey); Vaughan Thomas (Rowing); Andrew Davies, David Morgan (Weightlifting)
Note: Robert Clift (Hockey) was born in Newport and won a gold medal, but never competed for Wales.

1992 – Barcelona 15 (9 men / 6 women)
Nigel Bevan, Steve Brace, Ian Hamer, Colin Jackson, Kay Morley, Kirsty Wade (Athletics); Karen Like (Canoeing); Sally Hodge, Louise Jones (Cycling); Robert Morgan (Diving); Helen Morgan (Hockey); Mike Harris (Rowing); Andrew Davies, David Morgan, Tony Morgan (Weightlifting)
Note: Neil Thomas (Gymnastics) was born in Chirk
Note: Robert Clift (Hockey) was born in Newport

1996 – Atlanta 11 (9 men / 2 women)
Jamie Baulch, Steve Brace, Justin Chaston, Colin Jackson, Shaun Pickering, Iwan Thomas, Neil Winter (Athletics); Robert Morgan (Diving); Sonia Lawrence (Gymnastics); Glyn Charles, Bethan Raggatt (Sailing)
Note: David Luckes (Hockey) was born in Newport

2000 – Sydney 14 (10 men / 4 women)
Jamie Baulch, Justin Chaston, Colin Jackson, Andres Jones, Christian Malcolm, Catherine Murphy, Christian Stephenson, Iwan Thomas, Hayley Tullett (Athletics); Sian Brice (Triathlon); Kelly Morgan, Richard Vaughan (Badminton); David Hacker (Hockey); Ian Barker (Sailing)
Note: Jon Brown (Athletics) was born in Bridgend, but competed for England.
Note: David Luckes (Hockey) was born in Newport
Note: Andrea Whitcombe (athletics) went on to compete for Wales

2004 – Athens 17 (10 men / 7 women)
Tim Benjamin, Justin Chaston, Matt Elias, Christian Malcolm, Tracey Morris, Catherine Murphy, Philippa Roles, Hayley Tullett (Athletics); Kelly Morgan, Richard Vaughan (Badminton); Nicole Cooke, Julian Winn (Cycling); Simon Cottle, Tom James (Rowing); David Davies (Swimming); Marc Jenkins (Triathlon); Michaela Breeze (Weightlifting)
Note: Jon Brown (Athletics) was born in Bridgend, but competed for England.

2008 – Seoul 14 (6 men / 8 women)
Christian Malcolm, Philippa Roles (Athletics); Nicole Cooke, Geraint Thomas (Cycling); Sarah Thomas (Hockey); Tom James, Tom Lucy (Rowing); Elena Allen (Shooting); Dave Davies, Tom Haffield, Gemma Lowe (Swimming); Helen Tucker-Jenkins (Triathlon); Michaela Breeze (Weightlifting) ; Claire Wright (Trampolining)

2012 – London 30 (19 men / 11 women)
Dai Greene, Christian Malcolm, Brett Morse, Gareth Warburton, Rhys Williams (Athletics);
Andrew Selby, Fred Evans (Boxing); Geraint Thomas, Nicole Cooke (Cycling); Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy, Aaron Ramsey, Neil Taylor, Joe Allen (Football); Sarah Thomas (Hockey); Frankie Jones (Gymnastics); Tom James, Vicky Thornley, Chris Bartley (Rowing); Hannah Mills (Sailing); Elena Allen (Shooting); Georgia Davies, Ieuan Lloyd, Jemma Lowe, David Davies, Marco Loughran (Swimming) ; Jade Jones (Taekwondo); Helen Jenkins (Triathlon); Gareth Evans, Natasha Perdue (Weightlifting)

2016 – Rio 23 (15 women / 8 men)
James Davies, Sam Cross, Jasmine Joyce (Rugby Sevens); Victoria Thornley, Chris Bartley (Rowing); Owain Doull, Elinor Barker, Rebecca James, Ciara Horne, Geraint Thomas (Cycling); Natalie Powell (Judo); Jade Jones (Taekwondo); Jazz Carlin, Ieuan Lloyd, Chloe Tutton, Georgia Davies (Swimming); Elena Allen (Shooting); Joe Cordina (Boxing); Seren Bundy-Davies (Athletics); Helen Jenkins, Non Stanford (Triathlon); Hannah Mils, Chris Grube (Sailing)
Note: Graeme Thomas (Rowing) selected but pulled out through illness.