tokyo-olympics-the-039buzz039-of-winning-a-bronze-medal

By Megan Lawton

Newsbeat reporter

Over 11,000 athletes are competing in the Tokyo Olympics, presumably all eyeing up the top spot on the podium.

Not everyone can take home the gold, however, and Sky Brown, Jack Laugher and Bryony Page are among some of the Team GB athletes returning home this year with bronze medals.

And for these athletes there’s still a lot of joy to be found in placing third.

That’s the view of two-time Olympic taekwondo bronze medallist Bianca Walkden. The 29-year-old from Liverpool competed in both Rio and Tokyo and tells Radio 1 Newsbeat “one medal shouldn’t define you”.

“It’s important not to knock yourself down otherwise you’ll never be happy,” she says.

image sourceGetty Images

image caption‘I really wanted gold but I’m so proud of bronze’

Although Bianca admits she went into the games wanting a gold, she says there are so few medals, it’s about “giving it your best”.

“90% of athletes don’t come home with anything. 8% come home with a medal and then 3% get a gold. It’s great to have high standards but remember what you do anyway is already so impressive.

Outside of the Olympics, Bianca has won the Triple World Champion title for the past six years. She understands to those outside of sport it might seem crazy she’s not won an Olympic gold, but says it shows the “unpredictability of sport.”

‘Making the podium is very special’

Chelsea Giles agrees. The 24-year-old won bronze in the under 52 kilo judo category this year, and tells Newsbeat “when you’re not involved in sport people don’t realise the scale of the competition”.

“It’s so difficult to even qualify for an Olympics.

“You have to be in the top 18 in the world to compete, so to make the podium is very special.”

image sourceGetty Images

image captionChelsea says she ‘was really happy to contribute to team GB’s medals’

Chelsea is in the early stages of her career and thinks the bronze is the start of things to come.

“I got such a buzz from achieving it. It’s so exciting to think what could happen next.

“Me and my team have been training so hard for this moment and we’re so motivated for future tournaments too.”

‘It’s the best feeling ever’

For 22-year-old Emma Wilson, a bronze medal in windsurfing at Tokyo 2020 equates to her best performance yet.

“I’ve come fourth at the last three world championships, so I was determined not to come fourth again.

“I knew anything could happen, and I’m so glad I got a medal. I was only two points off the gold, so I did pretty good.”

image sourceGetty Images

image captionEmma’s bronze was the the first female windsurfing medal team GB have won since 2008

For anyone who dismisses medals that aren’t gold, Emma has a message on how hard she’s worked.

“Wind surfing is so physical. We’re basically on a rowing machine going as hard as we can for 25 minutes and we do three races in a day”.

“No one can take the bronze medal away from me. I know how hard I tried and it’s given me real confidence I can do it on the bigger stage”.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here.