The 2016 Rio Games are officially Great Britain’s best overseas Olympics after they surpassed the Beijing tally of 47 medals.
With the team having originally been set a target of 48 medals, they are now pushing steadily closer to the record 65 awarded in the home London 2012 games.
By Day 13 in 2012, Great Britain had 52 medals – compared to the current tally of 56 in Rio.
The Brits fired hard from the start and in the cumulative medal tally have either equalled or bettered their 2012 performance.
But in the next three days, the sports elite face a still daunting task of claiming nine more medals if they want to match the London record of 65.
Victory for Alistair Brownlee in the triathlon on Thursday pushed Team GB to 20 golds. His brother Jonny claimed the silver.
Moments later Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark brought their 470 sailing partnership to a dream end by claiming Team GB’s 21st gold, four years on from taking silver on the home waters of Weymouth and Portland.
Jade Jones then retained her Olympic title in the -57kg category in taekwondo. The 23-year-old defeated Spain’s Eva Calvo Gomez 16-7 in the final with a flurry of late blows, taking Team GB to 22 golds.
The Brownlee brothers, who finished first and third in London, were the first siblings to finish one and two at an Olympics since Italians Piero and Raimondo D’Inzeo in equestrian in 1960.
This week Jason Kenny joined Sir Chris Hoy and swimmer Henry Taylor as only the third Briton in 108 years to win three Olympic gold medals at one Games – but he is not the most famous cyclist in his own home.
The 28-year-old from Bolton is engaged to Laura Trott, the now four-time Olympic champion, who is 24. Their wedding is scheduled for September.
Trott was confirmed Tuesday night as a four-time Olympic champion after winning her second gold of the 2016 Games in Rio in the omnium.
She becomes Great Britain’s most successful female Olympian.
The success netted by Trott and Kenny has eclipsed the achievements of dozens of countries with populations of millions.
The Trott-Kenny household has five golds, ahead of Spain, New Zealand and host-nation Brazil.
UK Sport has invested around £274million into Olympic sports over the past four years and its chair Rod Carr said: “Our National Lottery and Government-backed athletes have worked so hard for many years to compete here in Rio, and to collectively achieve a historic best ever away Games medal haul with five days still to go is a fitting accolade for this special team.
“Our vision is to inspire the nation through Olympic and Paralympic success and Team GB is doing that, not just through their performances but through their incredible stories of commitment, team work and determination that have seen them reach the pinnacle of their sports, showing how ordinary people can achieve exceptional things.”
Liz Nicholl, chief executive officer of UK Sport, added: “Our high performance system is the envy of the world and continues to go from strength to strength.
“This milestone of reaching a record away games is a historic achievement and we are confident the outstanding medal success of Rio 2016 will continue over the coming days.
“The British Olympic Association has done and is doing a truly world-class job of supporting our athletes at the preparation camp in Belo Horizonte and here in Rio, leaving nothing to chance, to ensure they are the best supported team at this Games bar none.”
Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch said: “The performance of Team GB at Rio 2016 has been phenomenal. Surpassing the medal target with days of competition left is an incredible achievement and I congratulate the whole team, including the athletes, coaches, physios and all the support staff, on already making this our best ever performance at an away Games.”
British Olympic Association chief executive officer Bill Sweeney said: “We said we believed this to be our most talented Team GB squad and everything we have seen to-date has proven that to be true. We have incredible faith in the athletes and our sports and with a number of them still to compete we are hopeful of creating yet more history and new heroes and heroines.”
Team GB’s Rio 2016 chef de mission Mark England said: “What this team has delivered so far at Rio 2016 is an incredible achievement and the country should be extremely proud of the athletes and their support staff.
“The best ever away Games is a piece of history and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to reach that target so on early on at Rio 2016. With five days still to go, and a number of sports yet to even start competing, no doubt we can look forward to more success to come from Team GB.”