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A look at Sir Steve Redgrave's Olympic success on his 58th birthday

Redgrave won gold medals at five successive Olympic Games.

Sir Steve Redgrave may be one of the most decorated Olympians of all time but he is destined to be remembered as much for what he said getting out of a boat as what he did in it.

"If you ever catch me near a boat again, shoot me!" gasped Redgrave after he and partner Matthew Pinsent had successfully defended their men's coxless pairs title in Atlanta in 1996.

Four years on, of course, Redgrave would win his fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal as part of the coxless fours team, upon which, finally, he managed to retire from the sport for good.

Los Angeles Olympic Games 1984 – Great Britain Gold Medalist – Savoy Hotel, London
Steve Redgrave was among Great Britain's 1984 gold medallists (PA Archive)

Still safely away from the water, and celebrating his 58th birthday on Monday, Redgrave's achievements in terms of quantity of medals have since been surpassed by cyclists Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Jason Kenny.

But few would argue that Redgrave's success – he remains the only man to have won gold medals at five Olympic Games in an endurance sport – does not deserve to stand alone.

Redgrave won his first gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. A member of the coxed fours team, he was 22 years old and had never previously visited the United States.

Rowing – Atlanta Olympic Games 1996 – Men's Coxless Pairs – Final
Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent were GB's only gold medallists in Atlanta (PA Archive)

The Eastern Bloc boycott – which removed the favourite East German team in particular – played into British hands, despite Redgrave later admitting their absence had "devastated" the rowing competition.

Redgrave went on to form a partnership with Andy Holmes, winning the 1986 world title and repeating the feat two years later in Seoul to clinch his second gold medal, also picking up a bronze in the coxed pairs.

By 1990, Redgrave had formed his formidable partnership with Matthew Pinsent, eight years his junior, and the pair would go on to dominate the sport for the best part of a decade, starting with victory at the Barcelona Games by fully five seconds over their nearest challengers.

Steve Redgrave
Steve Redgrave rounded off his career in style in Sydney (John Giles/PA)

Atlanta four years later yielded Redgrave's retirement claim, but as GB's only gold medal winners of a disastrous Games, the pressure was soon on Redgrave to retract, and he duly did so in order to give the Olympics one last shot.

The history books were re-written after Sydney, a moment hailed by then IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch. Fifth time around, Redgrave would need no more convincing to change his mind.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States14141038
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia811928
Great BritainGreat Britain57618
Today's Olympic highlights header

Friday's key events

· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

> Today's schedule in full
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