Rio Olympics 2016: Team GB's record breakers return home from Rio

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Gymnast Max Whitlock and boxer Nicola Adams were the first members of Team GB to be seen when the plane doors opened

Great Britain's record-breaking Olympics team arrived back from Rio to jubilant scenes when they landed in London on Tuesday.

Britain is the first country to improve on a home medal haul at the next Games, their 67 beating 65 from London 2012.

Some team members had returned home already, but 320 athletes and support staff were on British Airways flight BA2016, which landed at Heathrow.

The Boeing 747 had a gold nose cone and a "victoRIOus" livery.

"I have only been here in the country a couple of hours and it's amazing the number of people who have come here to welcome us," said swimmer Adam Peaty, 21, who won Britain's first Rio gold medal with a world record in the men's 100m breaststroke.

The plane carried back poles for the pole vault, bicycles, javelins and a 6.7-metre sail, while 77 bottles of champagne and a three-course menu were on offer.

Team GB won 27 gold medals at Rio 2016
Team GB won 27 gold medals at Rio 2016

Max Whitlock, who won two individual gold medals in the men's gymnastics, and Nicola Adams, who retained her women's flyweight title, were the first two athletes off the plane.

"Wow, that reception was crazy. Thank you Great Britain and everyone else for all your support," British diver Jack Laugher, who won gold and silver in Rio, wrote on Twitter.

BBC News reporter Daniela Relph was at Heathrow and said she could see "layers and layers of people on all the floors of Terminal five leaning over barriers... to welcome Team GB home".

A total of 67 medals, with 27 golds, put Team GB second in the medal table - above China for the first time since the latter returned to the Games in 1984.

They won gold medals across more sports than any other nation - 15 - and improved on their medal haul for the fifth consecutive Olympics.

Sprinter Dina Asher-Smith won bronze in the 4x100m relay in her first Olympics.

"It was really cool," the 20-year-old said. "The strangest thing for me as a first-time Olympian I haven't been in this kind of environment before - something so big and something which makes the nation so proud.

"The cabin crew were 'well done, well done'. We don't realise how much of an effect it has on people back home and getting on the plane was the first part of realising we have done the nation proud and that was amazing."

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Bronze medallist Asha Philip filmed Team GB members singing God Save the Queen on board the plane to London

Kat Driscoll, who came sixth in the women's trampoline, added: "It's been incredible.

"They played the national anthem before we left. We all got a glass of champagne. It's been a nice celebration.

"Everyone's really glad to be back home but it's been a really nice way to end it."

GB's women's hockey team pose with their gold medals
Team GB's women's hockey team claimed a first Olympic gold

Of the 366 athletes who went to the Rio Games for Team GB, 130 of them - just over 35% - returned with a medal, including every member of the 15-strong track cycling team.

Katherine Grainger, 40, became Britain's most decorated female Olympian by taking silver alongside Victoria Thornley in the double sculls in rowing.

"It felt like a very special team to be a part of and as the medals start rolling in there is an immense sense of pride that is infectious and everyone wants to add to that," said Grainger.

The United States topped the medal table with 121 medals and 46 golds.

"To topple the Americans might be a long shot," said Bill Sweeney, chief executive of the British Olympic Association, when asked if the US could be caught.

"It [Rio 2016] has been amazing and incredible and one of those unbelievable moments in life.

"The platform has been set for continued success.

"Tokyo will be tougher that it was in Rio. The competition will be intense but then we have a very talented team."

Sally Gunnell, Olympic gold medallist in the 400m hurdles in 1992, told BBC News that the prospect of leading a successful team home can be a motivational factor for athletes for Tokyo 2020.

"What inspires you to carry on is that you want to be that person at the front," she said.

"You are aiming for four years and thinking, 'I want to be at the front next time'. It is lovely to see the excitement of the whole team."

Manchester and London will host events to recognise the success of Britain's Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

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'Proud as punch'

BBC News reporter Dominic Howell:

"You've done us proud" and "we love you" were just some of the messages of support shouted by a 100-strong crowd at Heathrow as they welcomed home Team GB.

Adults, children and press cameras congregated outside the airport's Cafe Nero for more than an hour in an effort to catch a glimpse of their favourite athlete. Even the police seemed in high spirits and were spotted handing out flags, while air hostesses joined the excitement to take pictures on their phones.

Arguably the largest delegation had come from Wapping Hockey Club and as the athletes began to arrive, passersby quickly gathered round to wave and cheer before dashing off to catch flights.

Members of Wapping Hockey Club turned out in force to welcome GB's athletes home
Members of Wapping Hockey Club turned out in force to welcome GB's athletes home

Crawley couple Trevor and Lynn Bowman stopped by to watch the jubilant scenes just before they jetted off to New York to celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary.

"I'm as proud as punch," said Trevor. "When you consider we're just a small island they've done phenomenally well."

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Max Whitlock starts preparing for Tokyo 2020 on the way back from Rio 2016
Max Whitlock started preparing for Tokyo 2020 on the way back from Rio 2016
Pete Reed won gold with Great Britain's men's eight rowing team
Pete Reed won gold with Great Britain's men's eight rowing team
Georgie Twigg won gold with the GB women's hockey team
Georgie Twigg won gold with the GB women's hockey team
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark won gold in the women's 470 sailing in Rio
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark won gold in the women's 470 sailing in Rio
GB's Helen Glover won rowing gold in the women's pair with Heather Stanning
GB's Helen Glover won rowing gold in the women's pair with Heather Stanning
The plane bringing Team GB athletes home
Gold medallists of Team GB
Golden boys and girls - Team GB's Olympic champions dazzle at 30,000 feet
GB hockey gold medallist Lily Owsley
GB hockey gold medallist Lily Owsley celebrated with rowing gold medallists Helen Glover and Heather Stanning
GB mens coxed eights gold medallist, Will Satch, with fellow Olympic champion Adam Peaty
GB men's coxed eights gold medallist, Will Satch, with fellow Olympic champion Adam Peaty
Cyclist Philip Hindes with his mis-spelled certificate of authenticity for his gold medal
Cyclist Philip Hindes with his mis-spelled certificate of authenticity for his gold medal
British hockey gold medallist and closing ceremony flag-bearer Kate Richardson-Walsh
British hockey gold medallist and closing ceremony flag-bearer Kate Richardson-Walsh posted this picture of her team-mates

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