Tokyo Olympic gold medal unveiled in Padiham

A chance encounter in Padiham on Friday night gave Burnley councillors Maggie and Gordon Lishman the opportunity to see and hold a Tokyo Olympic gold medal – before the Olympics had even finished.

The couple were dining at the Lawrence Hotel in the town with friends from London when the couple at the next table invited them to share a glass of champagne because they had something to celebrate...the small matter of a gold medal won by world number one eventing rider Oliver Townend, who was there with fellow rider Izzy Taylor.

Townend, who rode Ballaghmor Class, produced a dominant display with team-mates Laura Collett and Tom McEwen, in the showjumping finale at Tokyo Equestrian Park to win gold, Great Britain's first Olympic team gold in eventing since Munich 1972.

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Lib Dem councillor Gordon Lishman said: "Oliver showed us the gold medal he had won leading Team GB in the Team Eventing – a demanding discipline which includes dressage, cross-country and show-jumping. The UK team won by an impressive margin."

Oliver and Izzy with Maggie and Gordon Lishman

After dinner, they joined parties for another celebratory bottle of champagne (not including Gordon, who was the evening’s driver) and a few photos.

Oliver and Izzy were staying in Padiham on their way to Broughton Horse Trials in Skipton, starting at 8am on Saturday. Oliver had come straight off the plane from Tokyo. After Skipton, they were on their way to Huddersfield where Oliver was going to show his medal to family.

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Maggie said: “It was definitely a meeting with an unexpected wow factor! Who could have predicted a gold medal evening in Padiham? Oliver told us that it was the country’s first Olympic medal in the discipline since Munich in 1972. It was an encounter to remember for a very long time."

Gordon added: “Seeing Oliver and Izzy, it was very clear that they are both top athletes who are at the pinnacle of their sport. Both are looking forward to the Paris Olympics in only three years’ time. It was a great and entirely unexpected end to our evening."

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Oliver's Tokyo Olympics gold medal