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'A once in a lifetime chance' - Farah and Rutherford reunite to relive Super Saturday

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The Day When: Super Saturday - Team GB 2012

Image credit: Eurosport

ByEurosport
29/05/2020 at 13:57 | Updated 29/05/2020 at 14:57

Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford and Jess Ennis-Hill's coach Toni Minichiello join Eurosport look back at the glorious Super Saturday from London 2012.

  • Watch Return to London 2012 on Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Player from May 24-31

Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympics saw Team GB win a staggering six gold medals, with three golds coming in 46 minutes at the Olympic Stadium.

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Ennis, Farah and Rutherford won gold in the heptathlon, 10,000m and long jump at the Olympic Stadium to cap GB's most successful day at an Olympics since 1908. It was arguably the greatest sporting occasion in the nation's history.

GB also got golds from Danielle King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell in the women's team pursuit, Tom James, Pete Reed, Alex Gregory and Andrew Triggs Hodge in the coxless fours and Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking in the women's lightweight double sculls. A truly momentous day.

As part of Eurosport's Return to 2012 programming, Farah, Rutherford and Minichiello gave their take on the incredible events which unfolded in London eight years ago...

And in a very special episode, Orla Chennaoui was also joined by Lord Sebastian Coe, organiser of the London 2012 Olympics. Don't miss it on Saturday at 2pm.

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What was going through your mind when you crossed the line, Mo?

Mo Farah: "Just happiness, joy, I couldn’t believe it. It’s every athlete's dream to win an Olympic medal, but to win two medals in front of your home crowd and to have the whole nation behind you, it was just amazing.

"I guess I will never have that experience again in my life, no matter what I do because that was a once in a lifetime chance.

"That 10km, I knew I was capable of winning because leading up to it in the world champs two years prior I came so close to winning the gold, and I learned a lot in that time until London.

"I then had a week to win another gold medal and I told myself, 'I have got one now let’s see if I can get another'. I never thought that had to get another one, it was more 'let’s see what I can do'."

Greg Rutherford: "Mo’s gold was the icing on the cake, it was one of the last opportunities for us to have an incredible celebration as a team and as a nation as well.

"For anybody to come out and win two gold medals, I think people really struggle to understand what it’s like to get one! So to win multiple in the same Olympics, it’s out of this world and it left everybody so jubilant and so happy, it was the perfect way to crown what was the greatest Olympic games.

"Every time I think about it, it makes me smile because it was such a brilliant time.

As a team, we really did come together which is really interesting because athletics is a really individualised sport but everybody was so happy because we’d all lived this incredible London Olympics and we all came closer as a team, which is a very special thing in athletics.

Greg, what do you remember from Super Saturday?

Rutherford: "The bizarre thing from my point of view after everything had taken place, it took until the following evening to properly sink in. I received the medal the following night, so I didn’t have that tangible thing, so the night of winning, I didn’t sleep a wink and you’re then expected to do a full day of media.

"So from 7am through to about 5.30pm when I received the medal and a little bit afterwards I was just busy, so I was utterly exhausted.

"Fundamentally for me, in the blink of an eye, everything had changed. Now people wanted to meet and do certain things, I was then being asked to go to certain places and media duties and everything else, so I didn’t have a chance to properly celebrate. Also in the back of my mind, I knew I had about three competitions after the Olympics to get ready for!

"I remember sitting in the car with Jess the following morning and her saying ‘I am going to go on holiday, just relaxing now, I am done for the year’ and I am thinking, 'I’ve got to go back in to training now', so I couldn’t properly switch off. I took a few days and I started training again.

"I mean, yes, I did go about to the odd nightclub…. possibly. The other thing that came with me winning in London, was an added level of pressure that I had to live up to that every single time, so I was also thinking, 'you can’t now go back to being rubbish again!'

So it was a really difficult time for me trying to figure out what to do, when I look back now, I wish I had enjoyed it a lot more because that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I wish I hadn’t got bogged down thinking about the other competitions.

Toni, did Jess Ennis feel pressure coming in to the Games?

Toni Minichiello: "I think she did, it’s not something we ever really delved in to and talked about. I think there is a lot of expectation and Jess’s character is very interesting in that, certainly after Daegu, she felt, not that she lost, she was just really disappointed that she’d let everybody down.

"You kind of look around as a coach and think ‘you haven’t let me down, you haven’t let your family down, everybody is still here supporting you 100%’ but she really felt like she had let people down and I think that speaks to her character. The pressure was on, but it was about what she is doing and what she is giving back to other people.

"She was really quite relaxed heading in to the events on Friday, because it’s kind of a normal routine, we knew our routine. We’d been in a holding camp before, we’d got everything done from that point of view. We had a couple of events where we a bit, fingers crossed, lucky heather, touch wood you know, just in case!

I knew she was capable of a personal best in the 100m hurdles, we knew the track was fast, so there was a real opportunity, but what she did, I knew it was going to be good but I didn’t know it was going to be that good!

Jess showed a lot of emotion after the event had finished, how much of that was joy, and how much of that was relief?

Minichiello: "I’d have to say, looking at the picture, it’s not a triumphant picture really, I think it’s just total relief, you’ve had the pressure build over four years, you saw yourself tumble the year before and she crossed the line and delivered.

"Let’s be honest, face of the Games is a tough mantle to carry, you look at Michael Johnson in 1996, Cathy Freeman in 2000, Liu Xiang in 2008, what I means to be a face of the Games, silver is a loss, it’s not good enough, you are supposed to win.

So I think there is massive, massive relief in there, obviously exhaustion as well, two days, seven events is pretty relentless.

#Returnto2012

You can watch Return to London 2012 on Eurosport 2!

Saturday 30th May (2pm, replayed at 7pm) will give viewers the chance to relive the iconic night of the games – known ever since as Super Saturday. On a memorable night at the Olympic Stadium, Team GB secured three gold medals with Greg Rutherford, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Sir Mo Farah all topping the podium. Greg and Mo will look back on the historic evening and discuss some of the other seminal moments. Seb Coe and Tony Minichiello also join the chat.

Sunday 31st May (midnight) will see the week come to a close with Boyle’s equally impressive Closing Ceremony to book-end a celebratory period in the country’s sporting history.

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