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The end of a British Olympic tradition

Email sent: Jul 28, 2021 1:18pm

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Wednesday July 28 2021

The Telegraph
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Men's coxless four

Good evening. Chris Price covers drama for British rowing and a new most-decorated female British Olympian - plus proof Einstein was right.

Today's trivia: On this day in 1586, the first potatoes arrived in Britain, brought from Colombia by which English polymath? See below.


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Olympics Briefing: Dujardin joins greats but GB falters

It has been a Jekyll and Hyde day for Team GB. On the one hand, Britain has a new most-decorated female Olympian. Charlotte Dujardin may not have managed to defend the gold medal she won in Rio four years ago but she claimed the bronze in today's dressage and her sixth Olympic medal overall, surpassing rower Katherine Grainger and tennis player Kitty McKane. It is quite some rise from her humble Enfield roots. Yet aside from the success of Dujardin and Team GB's swimmers, it has been a decidedly disappointing day for many other sports. One of the country's great Olympic traditions came to an end at Tokyo's Sea Forest Waterway, as the men's coxless four, pictured above, managed only fourth in a race where Britain had won five consecutive golds, dating back to Sir Steve Redgrave's final triumph at Sydney 2000. The group lost control of their steering and narrowly missed the Italian team. One of Britain's previous gold medalists in the race, James Cracknell, has hit back at claims from a member of the men's quartet, that some of Britain's biggest stars in rowing would be "smug" at watching them fail.

Elsewhere, Dan Bibby branded GB's sevens programme "a joke" as Britain agonisingly lost out to Argentina 17-12 in their bronze medal play-off. Jack Laugher was unable to offer any explanation for the disastrous defence of his Olympic 3m synchronised springboard title. The pictures are quite something. Meanwhile, Sir Andy Murray and partner Joe Salisbury were knocked out at the men's tennis doubles quarter-final stage. The other big news is that Simone Biles, the Games' star attraction, has withdrawn from the individual all-round gymnastics after her "freak out" yesterday. Becky Downie outlines why she made right call. Get the latest from the Games each day with our Olympics Briefing newsletter.


Overseas cruises return amid EU and US travel deal


British holidaymakers will be able to take international cruises in line with Foreign Office advice as part of changes to England's overseas travel rules next week. The return of non-domestic cruises, which have been effectively out of reach since March last year, came as ministers confirmed that fully vaccinated EU and US citizens will be allowed to enter England without having to quarantine from August 2. The move follows warnings that the UK risked falling behind the EU, which has already largely opened up to citizens from the US and other countries. Meanwhile, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said younger adults should get the Covid vaccine because older people have "done their bit".


Einstein proven right as back of black hole finally seen


Astronomers have managed to look behind a black hole for the first time and have proven Albert Einstein was right about how these mysterious celestial behemoths behave. An international team of researchers used high-powered X-ray telescopes to study a supermassive black hole 800 million light years away at the centre of a distant galaxy. As well as the usual hallmarks of a black hole, the researchers spotted light – in the form of X-rays – being emitted by its far side. Read how this proves what Einstein's dogmatic theory of general relativity predicted in 1915.


Also in the news: Today's other headlines


PM interview | Boris Johnson said "more could be done to fight knife crime" as he urged the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to do better to tackle the issue in the capital. While the pandemic curbed stabbings in London over the past 18 months, it remains an issue especially among younger people and gangs. Read details of Mr Johnson's wide ranging interview.


Around the world: Hoover Dam left at record lows


No visitor can miss the ghostly band of white rock that augurs Lake Mead's doom. Running all the way around the 759-mile shoreline of one of America's largest reservoirs, the so-called "bathtub ring" marks exactly how far Lake Mead has fallen from its previous level – and how far the states and cities which depend on it are from disaster. Formed by the creation of the Hoover Dam in 1935, Io Dodds has this dispatch on the crisis forming for 25 million people who still rely on it for water, including 90 per cent of the population of nearby Las Vegas.


Wednesday big-read

What it takes to be an Olympic 'pool parent'

Olympic 'pool parents'

£400 trunks, 4am starts and 9,000 calories a day – spare a thought for the hardy community of Thermos-clutching mums and dads, who deserve their own gold medals for decades of sacrifice, writes Guy Kelly


Comment and analysis


Editor's choice

Nicole Kidman debuts a soft pixie haircut on the set of her latest film

'Long pixie' cut | Has Nicole Kidman started a new hair trend?

'The pressure that came down on me wasn’t anything I was prepared': Linda Blair in The Exorcist

'It pushed me over the edge' | Why The Exorcist made Linda Blair's head spin

Our reader is unconvinced by pensions – but her husband isn't

Moral Money | 'My husband doesn't know I don't save into a pension. Do I have to tell him?'


Business and money briefing

Protecting nuclear submarine fleet | Troubled steelmaker Sheffield Forgemasters has been nationalised in a £2.6m deal after the Ministry of Defence bought out existing shareholders. Read how the state has taken control amid fears that a collapse would damage national security.


Sport briefing

Varane to Man Utd | After nearly being signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2011, United's interest in Read Madrid defender Raphael Varane has ramped up in 2021 - now they nearly have their man. James Ducker has the inside story of their decade long pursuit of the Frenchman.



Behind the scenes with Mark Cavendish


Three things for tonight


And finally... for this evening's downtime


Lunar ambitions | It is almost 50 years since humankind last set foot on the Moon – so what is behind the rush to get back? Luke Mintz examines how precious minerals and the potential for large profits could lie behind the renaissance in Moon missions.


Today's trivia answer: Sir Thomas Harriott, whose talents extended to being an astronomer, mathematician, ethnographer and translator.


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