Wales on Top of the World


Wales on Top of the World

A look back at the most magical and memorable moments from Welsh sport in 2016. Eddie Butler tells the story of the Welsh footballers and athletes who shone on the biggest stage.


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Transcript


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I can just remember looking to see all our fans in the corner,

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you know, they'd lost it by then, the Welsh.

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I was panicking inside and thinking, "I'm not even touching the pedals,

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"I don't know when to go."

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A lot of people dream of scoring goals at the Euros,

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but they don't dream of scoring ones like that.

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I fell asleep, I had a nap in between fights.

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I woke up thinking, "Oh, my God, this is the Olympics."

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One single summer.

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Steps up, hits it left footed.

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Oh, he's scored!

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-SHOUTING

-Bale for Wales!

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A time like no other.

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The Welsh wonder strikes gold.

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Of heat this hot.

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R-R-R-Robson-Kanu.

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Hell on fire.

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Of making history.

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Come on, Jazz, keep it going.

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The sweetest summer for Wales, the soaring summer of 2016.

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The Euros in France in June,

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and in August and September, here,

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Rio, for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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Jade Jones, taekwondo gold medallist at the age of 19

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in London 2012.

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Teenage joy followed by doubts.

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I'd say straight after London I found it hard dealing with

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the pressure of being a champion and of what comes with it.

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Olympic champion.

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I remember coming back

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to the taekwondo gym and even the males wanted to beat me up

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just because I was Olympic champion.

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It was, like, such a lot of pressure at first.

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I remember going into every competition thinking,

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"Oh, I'm Olympic champion, you know, I can't lose,"

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or just having this big target on my back.

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The defending champion knew she was going to Rio.

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Others had to go through qualifying.

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Double world champion in 2013, Becky James had then injured

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her shoulder, her knee, had a cancer scare.

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Now, at the London Olympic velodrome,

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she could ride her way to Rio.

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She's got nothing to prove. Just getting here was a big success.

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It was her last chance of making the Olympics.

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And it's Vogel who leads them with a lap to go.

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Lee from Korea in second place.

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Guo Shuang trying to go round the outside in the red.

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Anna Meares in the middle of the track with the green helmet on.

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But still it's Kristina Vogel leading from the front,

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trying to stay at the front,

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Becky James is coming through to get a medal!

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World bronze and going to the Olympics.

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With those two old travelling companions -

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delight and trepidation.

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The strangest, most amazing feeling.

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A little bit terrifying as well, you know,

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you've got all that pressure going to the Olympics,

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but I just couldn't wait, it's something I've always dreamed about.

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On a similar path, but with a different way of moving,

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Jazz Carlin, who'd missed out on the 2012 Games

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and was now racing against the clock to make it to Rio.

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This is going to be close. Come on, Jazz, keep it going.

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15 metres to go. Can she do it?

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4.01, 4.02, 4.03, 4.04...

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-Yes!

-She's done it.

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Four years ago,

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I went through a pretty tough time missing out on London.

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It was something that obviously I'd been dreaming of

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since I was a young girl.

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Being a spectator, it just didn't feel right for me.

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I just didn't know if I could get back into the sport,

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if I had that belief to keep going,

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if I had that drive for another four years to keep going.

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And to keep obviously competing against the best in the world,

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I just didn't have that confidence.

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This is four years of heartbreak.

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She's put so much pressure on herself

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to qualify for the Olympic Games.

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Well done, Jazz Carlin.

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A four-year wait? Barely a moment.

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Wales's footballers had gone 58 without going to a major finals.

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But now they HAD qualified.

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The great adventure.

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For Swansea City's Neil Taylor, almost too great to contemplate.

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Neil Taylor at Wrexham didn't know

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if he'd have another contract the next year

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or play the next game on a Saturday,

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so to think that too far ahead was unthinkable.

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I obviously played at the Olympics,

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which was massive for me, and I really enjoyed that,

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and then Premier League with Swansea,

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but then the Euros was that next step for us.

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The last major tournament?

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The World Cup in Sweden in 1958.

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Now the 2016 Euros in France.

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And who else would be there?

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Inglaterra.

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Inglaterra. England.

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I can't say I was nervous, I was more intrigued.

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Second team...

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Will be playing England at some stage.

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I'd warned everybody - don't make an expression, be professional.

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Wales.

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-Whoa!

-Wales.

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But I found myself making a face, you know.

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There wasn't a team there that we needed to fear.

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Total respect for them, of course.

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It was just - we're here.

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We've always wanted to be here,

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whoever comes out of the hat, come what may,

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and we'll go and meet the challenge.

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And so began the reality of being there.

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Wales would be based in seaside Dinard in Brittany

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and were scheduled to play their pool games in Bordeaux,

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Lens and Toulouse.

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Reality,

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and the swirl, the whirl of the journey into the unknown.

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When I was a child watching the Euros, thinking how amazing

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it must be to play there and what it must be like and how good

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a footballer you must have to be to play at that sort of level,

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I'm not trying to say I'm a very good footballer,

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but what I'm trying to say is, it's that sort of, you know,

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aura round the Euros that makes you think that's the top level.

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That and the World Cup is the pinnacle of football.

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If getting their heads round all this wasn't demanding enough,

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for one player, there was the body too.

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I hadn't kicked a ball in competitive football

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before the first game of the qualifying campaign.

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It was a very tumultuous summer for me personally.

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I didn't have a club for two months, you know.

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It wasn't a totally alien experience.

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There was this lot, unfailingly there behind their team,

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whatever happened against England and Russia

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and first, Slovakia.

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All of a sudden it was real.

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In the dressing room before the game,

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it dawned on everyone that we're here now.

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In a couple of hours we'll be back in this dressing room

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and the first game is going to be done and dusted,

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so, you know, it's time to get to work.

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The Norwegian referee blows his whistle.

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Slovakia get the game underway.

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We knew it was as big a game for Slovakia as it was for Wales,

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but we came out to a sea of red.

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Our support completely overpowered theirs

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and in a strange way, it felt like we were going out into a home game.

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I'd probably say the first ten minutes of the game,

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we didn't do great, they started better than us.

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Dispossessed him, and Hamsik has wriggled and ghosted through

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and he goes on, Hamsik, what a goal!

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Unbelievable!

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They had that chance that we cleared off the line from Ben

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and I think that turned the game a little bit for us.

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We thought, OK, that's a big moment in the game that's gone our way.

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But we had to get the win and obviously Gareth stepped up

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with one of his special moments.

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It's Gareth Bale.

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Steps up, hits it left footed.

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Oh, he's scored!

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Bale for Wales!

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The talisman has delivered.

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Just who else but the golden Galactico?

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The star, the start.

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Meanwhile, job-seeker Hal...

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To just be on the bench at that time,

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I was pleased and buzzing, to be honest.

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A job.

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But could he do it?

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I played it down at the time, but I had actually snapped a tendon

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around my ankle about three weeks before the start of the tournament.

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I was worried for Hal, he'd worked so hard.

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I know how much he was looking forward to the tournament,

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and it was a big doubt.

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Ledley wants it square.

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Bale is deep. But Ledley picks out Ramsey.

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Ramsey towards Skrtel. Edge of the box...

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Robson-Kanu shoots,

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he's scuffed it, but it's the best scuff you will ever see!

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The roar and the noise levels were incredible.

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It's Wales 2, Slovakia 1.

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To come on and score a winner in what was our first game

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in a major tournament for however many years,

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it was a special feeling for myself.

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It made working hard to get there very much worthwhile.

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When you play international football and you go to another country,

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it can be lonely and you're in the lion's den.

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If you've got 3,000 or 4,000 travelling fans with you,

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it makes a huge difference. A hell of a difference.

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If you've got 25,000 fans in a stadium, and you're in France,

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I can't tell you how that changes the dynamics of everything.

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It's like playing in Cardiff.

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They're supporting us with such passion,

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you daren't let them down.

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And up they travelled

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to a stadium just a hop over the Channel from England -

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the next opponents.

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CHEERING AND SCREAMING

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Gareth, if I can quote a few quotes

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that are allegedly attributed to you.

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"England big themselves up - the passion, pride, patriotism."

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Did you say all that, did you quite mean it, and are you quite surprised

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the way that maybe some of the England camp have bitten?

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HE CHUCKLES

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Well, it's good that they bit but, no,

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I never said they didn't have passion or pride,

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I just feel, in my opinion, that we have more

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and I'm sure they have their opinion they have more also, so, yeah.

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We were pretty relaxed, to be honest, and you've got to remember,

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none of the pressure was on us for that game.

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When England play anybody, most of the pressure's on them

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because of the media around their squad and how they play,

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and I think the pressure was off us and obviously Gareth had done

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a couple of press conferences which got a few laughs from people

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and a few of the English staff got a bit wound up by it.

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We certainly don't have any doubts ourselves about our passion,

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our desire, our commitment,

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our wish to do well in the tournament,

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so if other people have another opinion,

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and think they're better at it, then that's fine by me.

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I think I know your answer to this one.

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-How many England players would get into this current Welsh team?

-None.

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LAUGHTER

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I think that put an extra bit of spice into the game,

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it was everything the media wanted going into that game.

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The England game was hard because of the outside influence

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and what was being said, and the attraction of Wales v England.

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It's not about England, you know, it's not about this one game,

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we need to accumulate as many points as we need to progress,

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that's all that mattered.

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The manager's voice of reason.

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Slightly drowned.

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England v Wales as it always is -

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tense, intense.

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We've seen some amazing things from Gareth Bale in a Welsh shirt,

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but this would be something else if he got one in from here.

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As Bale steps up with a free kick, hits it, over the wall.

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Oh! He's scored!

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It's Bale!

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SCREAMING AND SHOUTING

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Not many players in the world can do that.

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The reaction of Wales.

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What would England's be?

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Cahill couldn't get off the floor.

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Vardy's there!

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England are level.

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Daniel Sturridge.

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Sturridge scores!

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Talk about passion. Talk about pride.

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This England team have it in bucket-loads.

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We didn't play very well, we'll be honest with ourselves,

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that's the worst game we played at the tournament, I think.

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To concede that late goal, get that late blow,

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especially against your rivals, that hit us for six in many ways.

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That England game took its toll a little bit,

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but then, on the flipside of the coin,

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it also made us super-determined for the next game.

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It's not the end of the world.

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We still have a great chance to qualify.

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We're not out of it, we're Wales, we beat Russia, we go through.

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We march on. Come on, Wales, come on!

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The final pool game against a country

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over 80 times the size of Wales,

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with more than 40 times as many people.

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It's just that all of Wales seemed to be here in Toulouse...

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for the Russians.

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There were still definite nerves before the game.

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We can go out of the tournament here or we can win the group.

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It really embraced the fact that we were going to attack the game,

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we were going to take it to them.

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It's fair to say, I think the first half hour of that game,

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we blew them away, really.

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It's not often in football in general, let alone in the Euros,

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or a crucial game like that,

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that you get to enjoy football match like we did.

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And that one will live with us for a long time, the boys, that game,

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where we passed the ball around, we enjoyed it

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and we really looked like a good team that night.

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Brilliant ball for Ramsey.

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Ramsey in on goal.

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Ramsey scores for Wales!

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Aaron Ramsey.

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And the Arsenal midfielder has drawn first blood.

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Wales, playing with freedom,

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looking for a flourish.

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Everybody tempted, urged to press forward,

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including a player whose primary role was to stop goals.

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I thought, keeper's come out, they normally make themselves big,

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I'll slot it through his legs, that one didn't happen.

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So I thought, put your foot through it when it came back to me

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and it went in.

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The look on his face is priceless. I'm not sure he realises himself.

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He's in shock and he's running off,

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he didn't know how to celebrate, he didn't know where to run.

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It was brilliant, I remember giggling at the side, watching it.

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I just ran off and then thought,

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you just slide on your knees when you're a footballer,

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so I just gave it a slide and tried to find my family,

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blew a few kisses and I hope the kids enjoy that.

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They go on at me for not scoring, I try to explain I'm a defender,

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but they don't care at a young age.

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For the family record, it was Dad's first goal for Wales.

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But not the team's last.

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Aaron Ramsey. Backing off him.

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Ramsey weaving it through to Bale. He's onside.

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There's the man.

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And there's the man with the plan.

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Wales 3, Russia 0.

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It was just one of those nights where it all came together,

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and after that happened and we got through, we topped the group,

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we just felt like we could take on the world, you know.

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If you're a sportsman, you go through phases

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where you feel unbeatable.

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It doesn't matter what you do, you're going to win.

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And I think we were in that moment right then after that Russia game.

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Into the round of 16 went the team, the whole of Wales.

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A tricky game against a country

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slightly smaller than Wales.

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We were 90 minutes or one challenge away

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from being in a quarterfinal of a major tournament.

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The problem we've got is Northern Ireland are in the same boat as us.

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Stay focused, stay calm, we'll get a chance.

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Robson-Kanu.

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Has to be strong.

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We get a chance, we need a bit of luck.

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Let's make sure we work for it.

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Bale with another wicked delivery

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and it's turned into his own net by the unfortunate Gareth McAuley.

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It is another Wales win, and on they go to the quarterfinals.

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I remember saying, make sure, when we score and we're on top,

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we are showing everybody what it means to us.

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Don't be shy, don't be embarrassed.

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So we started doing that throughout the campaign, really.

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It's a compliment if you get asked to represent your country.

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It's an honour, you know, so you need to make the most of that.

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And when you win, there's no feeling like that, so why not show it?

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Showing it, sharing the joy,

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nobody showed it or shared it quite like Joe Ledley.

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He's a Welsh hero, Joe, for his dancing.

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His lack of hip movements have made him a legend in Wales.

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And his beard and everything like that, so I think Joe is a great lad.

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CHEERING

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We're a really close group, we get on great,

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but we haven't been away with each other for this long.

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Are we going to start doing each other's head in?

0:17:120:17:14

Are we going to be able to cope with the cabin fever going to set in?

0:17:140:17:18

The key to everything we've done has been team spirit, full stop.

0:17:180:17:21

We've always fought for each other, worked hard

0:17:210:17:24

and we've always known that each other would turn up on the day

0:17:240:17:27

when it was needed and produce, and I think that's been the key for us.

0:17:270:17:30

The last eight. Belgium,

0:17:300:17:32

slightly bigger than Wales.

0:17:320:17:34

Certainly higher in the world rankings.

0:17:340:17:37

And in Lille, playing very close to home.

0:17:370:17:40

We respect Belgium, a great team, great individual players.

0:17:400:17:43

But I just felt, as a team, we were better.

0:17:430:17:46

If we could just get it together on the night.

0:17:460:17:50

I'm quite sure the Belgian public were a lot more confident

0:17:520:17:56

than the Belgian players were in playing us, I'm pretty sure of that.

0:17:560:18:00

Here we go.

0:18:030:18:05

We knew from the qualifying campaign that we were their bogey team.

0:18:060:18:10

They don't like playing us, for whatever reason,

0:18:100:18:12

they don't play to the best of their ability when they play us.

0:18:120:18:15

Carrasco. Big chance.

0:18:150:18:17

Big save.

0:18:170:18:19

Meunier, off the line.

0:18:190:18:21

Hazard, over the bar.

0:18:210:18:23

Brilliantly defended.

0:18:240:18:26

But for how long?

0:18:260:18:28

This was a new level of attacking menace.

0:18:280:18:31

Nainggolan with a little bit of room.

0:18:310:18:34

And he took a shot and he scores magnificently.

0:18:340:18:37

You get an early disappointment in a game like that

0:18:390:18:42

and a lot of teams, I think, might have crumbled.

0:18:420:18:45

We went 1-0 down, and that's when we played

0:18:450:18:47

our best football at the tournament,

0:18:470:18:49

given the level of players we were playing against as well.

0:18:490:18:51

And now Aaron Ramsey, he's onside. Red shirts in the middle.

0:18:510:18:55

Oh, Courtois with a save to deny Neil Taylor.

0:18:550:18:58

It's a game, anything can happen,

0:19:000:19:01

and you just have to prepare yourself to the best of your ability

0:19:010:19:04

and be ready for when that opportunity comes.

0:19:040:19:07

Ramsey's corner... Williams!

0:19:090:19:11

Ashley Williams for Wales.

0:19:120:19:14

The captain heads home the equaliser!

0:19:150:19:18

1-1.

0:19:200:19:21

We got the goal.

0:19:210:19:23

Again, we were buoyed from it, we had a belief and we started

0:19:230:19:26

to have a few chances here and there, we were opening them up

0:19:260:19:29

a little bit, and going into the second half, it was anyone's game.

0:19:290:19:33

Bale.

0:19:330:19:34

A good run from Aaron Ramsey, well found.

0:19:340:19:37

Dinked in towards Robson-Kanu.

0:19:370:19:40

Taylor is available. What a turn!

0:19:400:19:42

What a goal!

0:19:420:19:43

What a goal from Hal Robson-Kanu!

0:19:430:19:47

When you receive the ball in the box, you sort of want to try

0:19:470:19:51

and make space for yourself, it was an opportunity for me to turn,

0:19:510:19:54

and in the end it just worked perfectly and, you know,

0:19:540:19:56

it was a feeling that I'll never forget for the rest of my life.

0:19:560:20:00

Robson-Kanu...

0:20:000:20:03

R-R-R-Robson-Kanu...

0:20:050:20:10

Robson-Kanu!

0:20:100:20:12

Hell on fire.

0:20:120:20:14

-COLEMAN:

-It was the look on his face when he'd done it, the big smile.

0:20:140:20:18

I can just remember looking to see all our fans in the corner.

0:20:180:20:23

They'd lost it by then, the Welsh fans were just going crazy.

0:20:230:20:26

Because this was a new level of attacking menace.

0:20:260:20:30

In towards Vokes...

0:20:300:20:31

Vokes!

0:20:310:20:33

Oh, my God!

0:20:330:20:35

Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!

0:20:350:20:38

Ohh... Go and wake your kids up.

0:20:420:20:45

Something special is happening here tonight!

0:20:450:20:47

Wow!

0:20:470:20:48

Wales are going into the semifinals of the European Championship.

0:20:480:20:53

Amazing, amazing stuff.

0:20:530:20:56

-GARY LINEKER:

-Wow, just wow.

0:20:570:20:59

What an incredible performance from Wales,

0:20:590:21:01

one of the greatest performances in the history of British football.

0:21:010:21:05

I think that night was the first night of the year

0:21:060:21:08

we'd probably seen tears from fans,

0:21:080:21:10

and pure emotion and pride and everything.

0:21:100:21:12

It was quite the same for the players, honestly, because without a

0:21:120:21:14

doubt Belgium were the most talented squad of players at that Euros.

0:21:140:21:18

Once again we'd beaten Belgium, which is no mean feat.

0:21:180:21:22

We'd earned that win, we hadn't nicked it this time,

0:21:220:21:25

like the Northern Ireland one, we were the better team in that game.

0:21:250:21:29

The 58-year wait, well worth it.

0:21:290:21:32

Wales in the semifinals of the Euros.

0:21:320:21:36

Can someone please explain to me what is happening?

0:21:390:21:42

Semifinals.

0:21:430:21:45

Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsey, both suspended,

0:21:460:21:50

would miss the semi against Portugal in Lyon.

0:21:500:21:53

On the other hand, the support for Wales only grew crazier.

0:21:530:21:57

Hello!

0:21:570:21:59

HE SPEAKS WELSH

0:21:590:22:01

It's going to be a fantastic night,

0:22:010:22:03

Wales against Portugal for a place in the finals.

0:22:030:22:07

Children, the presenters have just said

0:22:070:22:10

there's a bit of a game on today.

0:22:100:22:11

CHILDREN CHEER

0:22:110:22:13

I know the whole House will want to join me in wishing Wales luck

0:22:130:22:17

ahead of the Euro 2016 semifinal this evening.

0:22:170:22:21

Hey, Wales, get ready to party your Hasselhoff. Pob lwc, Cymru.

0:22:210:22:25

Go, Wales.

0:22:250:22:27

Go, Wales!

0:22:270:22:28

Together Stronger. Let's do this.

0:22:280:22:31

-TAYLOR:

-There's pressure because now you're thinking,

0:22:310:22:35

"Can we win this tournament?

0:22:350:22:37

"Is there a chance we can go all the way?"

0:22:370:22:39

And no-one wants to say it, but you're all sort of thinking,

0:22:390:22:42

"There's a chance here, you know.

0:22:420:22:44

"We've got a chance now to maybe, you know,

0:22:440:22:46

"do something that would be unbelievable."

0:22:460:22:49

But when you talk about fate, it was probably fate for them to win it.

0:22:490:22:54

Rafa...

0:22:540:22:56

Cristiano...

0:22:560:22:58

Go-o-o-o-oal!

0:22:580:23:08

Just seeing the leap from Ronaldo was unbelievable,

0:23:090:23:12

I couldn't believe how high he'd got to head that ball.

0:23:120:23:15

Wales trail...

0:23:190:23:21

And then they get quite a lucky goal straight after to put them two up.

0:23:230:23:26

I think from that point on we didn't really look like

0:23:260:23:28

we'd get a way back into the game.

0:23:280:23:30

And congratulations to them.

0:23:300:23:32

And I'm happy that we lost to the eventual winners as well.

0:23:320:23:36

All over in Lyon.

0:23:360:23:38

For Wales, well, this is only the end of one story.

0:23:380:23:43

There's so much to be proud of.

0:23:430:23:45

It's a shame we couldn't go any further but, you know,

0:23:450:23:47

still a huge achievement.

0:23:470:23:49

-COLEMAN:

-No complaints.

0:23:490:23:51

I don't think we could have asked for any more.

0:23:510:23:53

It just wasn't to be. We got to the semifinal,

0:23:530:23:56

and the feeling when the final whistle went, it was awful.

0:23:560:23:59

I needed to go into the dressing room

0:23:590:24:01

and have five minutes by myself.

0:24:010:24:03

I can't tell you how gutted I felt, you know.

0:24:030:24:06

You start thinking, "There's a lot of people here that's followed us,"

0:24:060:24:10

so you go and say thank you to them, and they were brilliant.

0:24:100:24:14

So, so proud of the team.

0:24:140:24:16

So, so proud of the whole nation for how they conducted themselves,

0:24:160:24:20

the travelling supporters were absolutely immense.

0:24:200:24:23

But, yeah, we were just one hurdle short.

0:24:230:24:26

And I'll never, ever...

0:24:260:24:28

stop thinking "if only".

0:24:280:24:30

I can't help it.

0:24:300:24:32

The great adventure was over.

0:24:390:24:41

The unknown had been faced, the challenge embraced.

0:24:410:24:45

The whole experience shared and adored

0:24:450:24:48

from start to semifinal finish.

0:24:480:24:51

Just a few weeks later, there began another adventure.

0:24:550:24:59

Not across the Channel but on the other side of

0:24:590:25:02

the Atlantic Ocean, the other side of the equator.

0:25:020:25:06

Rio de Janeiro, host city of the Olympic Games.

0:25:070:25:11

Rio, with its soaring majesty.

0:25:120:25:16

Beautiful Rio.

0:25:160:25:18

In a turbulent country, a chaotic city,

0:25:180:25:22

charming but sometimes threatening Rio.

0:25:220:25:26

It would exert unique strains on even the most hardened competitors,

0:25:260:25:31

disturbing their routines.

0:25:310:25:33

I don't know whether it's because I've been to Olympics before

0:25:370:25:40

and I'm used to that pressure,

0:25:400:25:41

but when I first got there it didn't really feel like an Olympics, so I

0:25:410:25:45

remember on the day, like, I fell asleep, had a nap in between fights.

0:25:450:25:49

Obviously I normally have a nap but I woke up thinking,

0:25:490:25:51

"Oh, my God," you know, "this is the Olympics,"

0:25:510:25:54

and that's when it finally kicked in, like.

0:25:540:25:57

Just arriving in the village and being in the Team GB block and

0:25:570:26:00

being with all these other athletes was just absolutely incredible.

0:26:000:26:05

You see everyone else in Team GB kit, you know,

0:26:050:26:07

you always make a connection whether you know them or not.

0:26:070:26:10

You're walking round and you see Andy Murray training on the tennis

0:26:100:26:13

courts or watching Mo Farah just walking out of the Team GB block.

0:26:130:26:17

You're sort of surrounded by all these stars and I didn't

0:26:170:26:20

really feel like I belonged there, it was like,

0:26:200:26:22

wow, there's all these incredible athletes.

0:26:220:26:24

One of these superstars stood directly in Jazz's way,

0:26:260:26:29

or swam in a lane nearby.

0:26:290:26:32

The mighty Katie Ledecky of the United States.

0:26:320:26:36

A child prodigy in London and now 19 years old and in three individual

0:26:360:26:41

freestyle events, including Jazz's 400m and 800m.

0:26:410:26:46

She won the London 2012 Olympics at 15 years old,

0:26:480:26:51

it's a very young age to win an Olympic gold medal,

0:26:510:26:54

so obviously then everyone knew how she is a star

0:26:540:26:57

but from then on she's posting times that people

0:26:570:27:00

didn't believe a woman would have been possible to do.

0:27:000:27:03

There were still medals to win, and if the presence of Ledecky

0:27:040:27:08

was daunting, there was a factor that might prove more inspiring.

0:27:080:27:13

No woman from Wales had won a medal

0:27:130:27:16

of any colour in the swimming pool for over 80 years.

0:27:160:27:20

But look at that,

0:27:220:27:23

Jazz Carlin winning the first of the seeded heats.

0:27:230:27:26

And that's put her in a great position for the final.

0:27:260:27:30

Normally I try and go back and rest and sleep but I was just absolutely

0:27:300:27:33

wired, I was so excited to compete in the final, and obviously

0:27:330:27:36

my coach was really happy with my swim, he said, "You looked great,"

0:27:360:27:40

then obviously you never know, it's a completely different swim

0:27:400:27:42

in the final, you can't control what everyone else is doing.

0:27:420:27:46

I'd worked a lot with a sports psychologist leading up to Rio.

0:27:480:27:52

He made me stand up and read this bit of paper,

0:27:520:27:55

and it said, "Hi, everyone, I'm Jazz Carlin

0:27:550:27:58

"and I'm going to Rio to try and win two Olympic medals."

0:27:580:28:01

I was so scared, I was... I didn't want to do it.

0:28:010:28:05

I was saying, "I don't want to do it, why are you making me do this?"

0:28:050:28:08

But just doing that, standing up in front of everyone,

0:28:080:28:11

made it feel a bit more real and made me think, yeah, I can do that.

0:28:110:28:14

Take your marks.

0:28:140:28:15

STARTING BLEEP

0:28:150:28:17

So, about 80 metres to go

0:28:170:28:19

in this final of the women's 400m freestyle.

0:28:190:28:21

But great news for Great Britain,

0:28:210:28:23

and Wales's Jazz Carlin in silver-medal position,

0:28:230:28:26

and she's holding well, but charging is Leah Smith of the USA in three.

0:28:260:28:29

Yeah, we've got to keep an eye out for Leah Smith.

0:28:290:28:32

Smith finishes very strongly, has got a stronger best time,

0:28:320:28:34

a two-second-better best time than Carlin.

0:28:340:28:36

Carlin has to dig in deep here.

0:28:360:28:39

And Katie Ledecky of the USA

0:28:390:28:40

is going to obliterate her world record.

0:28:400:28:43

She's going to probably come 3.56.

0:28:430:28:45

Look at this, the Worlds champion becomes the Olympic champion.

0:28:450:28:50

The silver to Jazz Carlin, wonderful silver medal for Great Britain.

0:28:500:28:53

What a brilliant swim, and a massive lifetime best.

0:28:530:28:56

Well done, Jazz.

0:28:560:28:58

Silver Olympic medal on the 400 freestyle. Brilliant.

0:28:580:29:01

It was Wales's first medal of the Games.

0:29:030:29:06

And now she wanted more.

0:29:060:29:09

Standing on the podium and seeing everyone

0:29:090:29:12

and seeing the British flag, and I remember thinking,

0:29:120:29:15

I just want to experience that feeling again.

0:29:150:29:17

Rio, so different from London.

0:29:220:29:25

But the medals started to roll in,

0:29:250:29:27

for the Team GB pot but towards a special Wales tally, too.

0:29:270:29:32

James "Cubby Boi" Davies and Sam Cross in rugby sevens.

0:29:320:29:37

Silver for Victoria Thornley in the double sculls.

0:29:390:29:43

Gold for Hannah Mills in the 470 sailing.

0:29:440:29:47

And Jazz chasing Ledecky again, looking for more.

0:29:470:29:52

And brilliant news for Great Britain,

0:29:520:29:54

a second silver medal for Jazz Carlin.

0:29:540:29:56

Yeah, it was kind of like, "Oh, wow, that happened again!"

0:29:560:30:00

Two silvers. Jazz Carlin, well done.

0:30:010:30:05

To come away with two silvers behind a champion like Katie Ledecky

0:30:050:30:09

is, erm...is OK, I'll take it!

0:30:090:30:12

The Olympic velodrome, the medal factory for Team GB.

0:30:130:30:17

Gold for Owain Doull and Elinor Barker

0:30:170:30:21

in their respective team sprints.

0:30:210:30:24

And at their first Olympics.

0:30:240:30:27

And here, after four years of such highs and lows, Becky James.

0:30:310:30:36

I was terrified to be racing.

0:30:370:30:39

It must have been six o'clock in the morning,

0:30:390:30:41

I had a bowl of porridge in bed and I remember just shaking

0:30:410:30:44

and my stomach was doing flips, I was absolutely terrified.

0:30:440:30:47

But I was really excited to race as well, I think, because I knew

0:30:470:30:50

how well I was going. I was just sort of ready to get out there

0:30:500:30:52

and I just wanted to get the first race done,

0:30:520:30:54

just to know how I was going.

0:30:540:30:56

Pretty well, it seemed, cruising through the heats in the keirin.

0:30:570:31:01

And then watching others.

0:31:030:31:05

The women's team pursuit up just before my final, and I think it

0:31:060:31:10

gave me that extra motivation, just watching them win that gold medal.

0:31:100:31:14

Becky's turn now, back at last.

0:31:150:31:18

The final of the keirin.

0:31:180:31:20

Follow that derny.

0:31:220:31:24

STARTING GUN FIRES

0:31:250:31:27

All my coach said to me before the race is, "Be patient, don't panic."

0:31:270:31:32

Whenever I'm racing I don't notice anything else bar my coach

0:31:320:31:35

and what's going on in the race, and he was just going,

0:31:350:31:38

"Just wait, just wait."

0:31:380:31:40

One of the advantages of being third back is that you can start

0:31:400:31:44

your acceleration earlier, and so as the bike drops off you're

0:31:440:31:47

already moving forward, so swings and roundabouts in this one.

0:31:470:31:52

I could feel it was just getting faster and faster straightaway,

0:31:520:31:54

as soon as the motorbike pulled off.

0:31:540:31:56

And the race is on now.

0:31:560:31:57

Voinova from Vogel, from Meares,

0:31:570:31:59

Ligtlee round the outside, Basova in the middle,

0:31:590:32:02

right at the back is Becky James in the dark skinsuit.

0:32:020:32:06

I was panicking inside,

0:32:060:32:07

I was thinking, when can I go, when can I go?

0:32:070:32:09

With less than two laps to go, Becky James with plenty to do.

0:32:090:32:13

It came into the bell lap and I was still at the back,

0:32:130:32:15

and I just had this surge and I was thinking, I've got to do something,

0:32:150:32:19

and I had all this frustration and I just went round the outside.

0:32:190:32:22

Becky James is still at the back. Now she tries to make inroads.

0:32:220:32:26

Becky James goes around the outside.

0:32:260:32:28

I was thinking, I can do this, I can do this!

0:32:280:32:31

Down the finishing straight and up towards the line!

0:32:310:32:34

There is a medal here for Becky James and I think it's silver.

0:32:340:32:39

Second place confirmed.

0:32:400:32:42

But it wasn't so much the finishing order as the being here.

0:32:430:32:47

I never imagined going back to my cycling,

0:32:470:32:50

because I spent four-and-a-half months not actually on my bike

0:32:500:32:52

and I was just having pain every time I tried to get back onto it.

0:32:520:32:56

And then I'd been going through ups and downs as well at this time,

0:32:560:32:59

when I had my abnormal cervical smears.

0:32:590:33:02

Weekends, I'd go back to my parents' and I'd just cry

0:33:020:33:05

and just say, "I can't do this any more."

0:33:050:33:07

But to be able to celebrate with them, you know,

0:33:070:33:09

was a really special moment.

0:33:090:33:11

They were the ones that kept me going through all those times,

0:33:110:33:14

and I think that's what made it so special, that they'd seen me

0:33:140:33:17

going through that and then they'd seen me on the form of my life.

0:33:170:33:20

There might be more hugs.

0:33:200:33:22

On her way to the final of the individual sprint,

0:33:220:33:26

Becky set a new Olympic record, setting up a grand finale.

0:33:260:33:30

The sprint is on, 200 metres to go.

0:33:310:33:33

There's a big gap to close, Becky James is starting to close it.

0:33:350:33:38

Vogel's trying to hold her off.

0:33:380:33:40

Round the banking, into the finishing straight.

0:33:400:33:42

Has Becky James got the speed to do it?!

0:33:420:33:44

-Oh, it was so close, so close.

-Ooh...

0:33:440:33:46

There was nothing in it between the pair of them.

0:33:460:33:50

Kristina Vogel takes it, and Becky James wins

0:33:500:33:53

a second silver medal here in Rio.

0:33:530:33:55

A second silver for herself,

0:33:590:34:03

and the medal that took the total won by Welsh competitors

0:34:030:34:07

past the previous best.

0:34:070:34:09

Rio.

0:34:130:34:15

Difficult Rio, wonderful Rio.

0:34:150:34:17

And still offering more.

0:34:180:34:21

No individual Welsh competitor had ever won back-to-back golds.

0:34:210:34:26

Step forward Jade Jones, 57 kilos of high-kicking defending champion.

0:34:260:34:33

I always, like, try and stay, like, 100% focused until I've fought.

0:34:330:34:37

Straight after London I found it hard, like, dealing with

0:34:370:34:40

the pressure, you know, of being a champion and of what comes with it.

0:34:400:34:44

It wasn't till my coach, Paul Green, said, you know,

0:34:440:34:46

"Your Olympic gold is never going away," so I can't keep

0:34:460:34:49

carrying that to every competition and putting pressure on me.

0:34:490:34:52

It's like, that's never going away, so anything else is a bonus.

0:34:520:34:56

And then I thought, at the end of the day, it's the Olympic Games,

0:34:560:34:59

I've got one chance and I've just got to go for it

0:34:590:35:01

and give it absolutely everything I've got, you know,

0:35:010:35:04

put my heart and everything on the mat and there's nothing more

0:35:040:35:07

I can do, you know, so that's how I went into it.

0:35:070:35:10

That was the start.

0:35:100:35:13

The finish lay four fights away.

0:35:130:35:15

Bakkal not being fazed by the fact that Jade is the Olympic champion.

0:35:150:35:20

So fast!

0:35:200:35:21

Lightning quick with those feet.

0:35:210:35:24

This is by far the quickest we've seen, I'm sure.

0:35:240:35:27

There's the Headhunter in action.

0:35:280:35:31

That's what's hard sometimes, the expectation on me to just, like,

0:35:310:35:34

beat everyone up is really high, and then that makes me a bit nervous.

0:35:340:35:38

And she manages to stay calm there and find that three-point head shot.

0:35:380:35:43

Two fights according to plan, but then, in the third...

0:35:430:35:47

I just felt a bit too tense and me little brother texted me

0:35:480:35:51

and was just like, "Relax, Jade."

0:35:510:35:53

You know, he must have been able to see that I was nervous

0:35:530:35:56

and I knew if I didn't relax then, you know,

0:35:560:35:58

I could go out and I could lose.

0:35:580:36:00

Fantastic stuff from Jones.

0:36:020:36:05

She scores again, look at that, there's a three to the head.

0:36:050:36:08

And Jones, she knows that she's got one foot in the Olympic final.

0:36:080:36:14

Can she defend her title?

0:36:140:36:16

She has a chance.

0:36:160:36:19

When I, you know, got through to the final,

0:36:190:36:21

just like a weight had been lifted.

0:36:210:36:24

A lot of pressure did go off me, for about, like, five minutes,

0:36:240:36:28

and then I thought, no, I came here for the gold, and then,

0:36:280:36:30

like, the pressure started, like, building up again!

0:36:300:36:34

I've got my shot now at becoming double Olympic champion,

0:36:340:36:37

and that's the first time I'd really, you know, fully

0:36:370:36:39

thought about it on that day, that, "Oh, my God, I could do it twice."

0:36:390:36:43

And then I was just ready for the final, I was like,

0:36:430:36:46

"Right, let's do this, this is what I'm here for."

0:36:460:36:49

Gomez just leaning back...

0:36:500:36:52

There's a kick up the stairs, and she finds the door is open.

0:36:520:36:56

She sneaks in, takes the head shot and plants another. 6-0.

0:36:560:37:01

The first round I went up about six points, like, in about 20 seconds,

0:37:010:37:05

I thought, "Oh, my God, didn't expect it to go like this!"

0:37:050:37:08

I was kind of shocked, to be honest, I thought, "Oh, my God."

0:37:080:37:10

And then in the second round I must have, like,

0:37:100:37:12

come off the pressure a bit.

0:37:120:37:14

Yeah, she's just got to keep her head, keep her composure,

0:37:140:37:17

Jade Jones.

0:37:170:37:19

She came flying at me and it went back to 7-6.

0:37:190:37:22

Well, there is the head shot that puts Calvo Gomez back into this one.

0:37:220:37:26

I just remember thinking, you know, like, Paul my coach will kill me,

0:37:260:37:29

so going back to him after the second round

0:37:290:37:31

and he was like, "Have you give up?"

0:37:310:37:33

and, like, screaming in my face, and he was saying...

0:37:330:37:35

We've got two minutes, give me your best two minutes. Right?

0:37:350:37:38

And I literally did give it the best two minutes of me life,

0:37:380:37:40

and just attacked her, really.

0:37:400:37:42

Ten seconds left. Jones takes another.

0:37:420:37:45

Calvo Gomez on the back foot.

0:37:450:37:47

Can she do it one more time, the Olympic champion?

0:37:470:37:50

The Welsh wonder strikes gold again. Double Olympic champion.

0:37:500:37:55

To do it once is good but to do it twice is just, you know,

0:37:550:38:00

unbelievable, and that's all I wanted to do,

0:38:000:38:02

I didn't want to be a one-hit wonder, I wanted to stamp my mark.

0:38:020:38:06

Rio. Happy Rio. GB Rio.

0:38:100:38:14

A record 67 medals won, second in the medal table, ahead of China.

0:38:140:38:20

Wales's contribution - ten medals.

0:38:210:38:24

Three more than in London.

0:38:240:38:26

And in this mood, the Olympics morphed into the Paralympics.

0:38:280:38:32

Aled Sion Davies, discus gold medallist in London,

0:38:360:38:40

now in the shot.

0:38:400:38:42

Double rotation, he releases that shot.

0:38:430:38:45

Aled Davies is the Paralympic gold medallist.

0:38:450:38:49

Hollie Arnold, her third Paras, first medal.

0:38:490:38:52

43 metres and one centimetre.

0:38:520:38:55

The world record is smashed.

0:38:550:38:57

A single sculler, almost a novice.

0:38:570:39:01

But it is a gold for Rachel Morris,

0:39:010:39:04

who turned to the sport just two years ago.

0:39:040:39:08

An archery silver for Jodie Grinham.

0:39:080:39:10

Phil Pratt, basketball bronze.

0:39:120:39:15

Sabrina Fortune, bronze in the shot put.

0:39:160:39:19

More medals, another surge towards a record haul.

0:39:200:39:25

Uplifting Rio.

0:39:250:39:27

This place was casting its spell, as was the whole summer of '16.

0:39:270:39:33

Rio was pretty amazing, to be fair.

0:39:330:39:36

I watched Jade Jones's final and, erm,

0:39:360:39:38

seen the emotion come out of her.

0:39:380:39:40

I watched the football back in the summer,

0:39:400:39:42

it was a great experience watching how free they played,

0:39:420:39:45

and I put that into my psychology, you know,

0:39:450:39:48

I spoke to my psychologist about it, you know, "That's what I want to

0:39:480:39:51

"be like, I want to go out there and play like the footballers did."

0:39:510:39:56

Rob Davies, sports mad.

0:39:570:40:00

Rugby the particular love of his life.

0:40:000:40:03

At the age of 21, playing hooker for Brecon,

0:40:040:40:07

he suffered a serious spinal injury.

0:40:070:40:11

He would never walk again.

0:40:110:40:13

It is the spirit of the undaunted.

0:40:170:40:20

Still sports mad, he discovered this.

0:40:200:40:24

When I was in hospital, the Welsh guys invited me down to train,

0:40:240:40:27

so I was going down there I think twice a week probably,

0:40:270:40:29

getting a taxi down from the hospital,

0:40:290:40:31

and the nurses weren't too happy because I didn't tell them

0:40:310:40:34

where I was going a lot and just went down to the taxi,

0:40:340:40:37

and they were looking for me,

0:40:370:40:38

but I wanted to go and practise table tennis, that's what I did.

0:40:380:40:41

I haven't stopped since.

0:40:410:40:43

Over the course of a decade he went from beginner to world number one,

0:40:430:40:48

but without winning a medal at the Paralympics in London.

0:40:480:40:52

He hadn't made it through the preliminary rounds.

0:40:520:40:55

Now he was in the final - against a Korean player he knew well.

0:40:560:41:01

Joo Young Dae, ranked at number five in the world,

0:41:010:41:05

playing in his first Paralympics.

0:41:050:41:08

I'd played him twice before, never beat him.

0:41:080:41:12

And this time Davies was ready for the long, fast serve.

0:41:140:41:18

Oh, what a point. The early part of that rally was amazing.

0:41:290:41:33

It's the fourth game, Rob Davies now one game away from the gold medal.

0:41:370:41:43

He leads by two games to one, best of five.

0:41:430:41:46

It's hard to explain, erm,

0:41:460:41:47

everything I'd worked for not only the last four years

0:41:470:41:51

but the last eight years, probably since my accident,

0:41:510:41:54

everything's been leading towards that moment.

0:41:540:41:57

He's done it!

0:42:030:42:05

What a performance!

0:42:050:42:07

Just look how much that means to Rob Davies.

0:42:070:42:11

He's been working incredibly hard for four years

0:42:110:42:15

and it all comes down to this moment.

0:42:150:42:18

It all came out then almost, you know, so much emotion,

0:42:180:42:22

through having my injury, through how I used to train

0:42:220:42:25

before my injury, you know, playing rugby, erm,

0:42:250:42:27

used to put everything into my sport,

0:42:270:42:29

and looking back on all that,

0:42:290:42:31

what's made me the person I am now, today, and I think without

0:42:310:42:35

all them experiences, without all that past,

0:42:350:42:38

I think I wouldn't have been able to do what I did on that final,

0:42:380:42:42

and, yeah, it all came out then, after I realised I'd won.

0:42:420:42:46

The Games were over, life could return to what roughly passes

0:42:510:42:55

for normal beneath these peaks.

0:42:550:42:58

Normal. No such thing in Rio.

0:42:580:43:02

And no such thing for Wales, in the soaring summer of '16.

0:43:020:43:07

MUSIC: Livin' Thing by Electric Light Orchestra

0:43:070:43:10

# Sailing away on the crest of a wave

0:43:120:43:15

# It's like magic... #

0:43:150:43:18

To play a part in all the Welsh athletes,

0:43:180:43:20

and I think it sort of made it feel very real in the parades after,

0:43:200:43:23

sort of meeting everyone that I hadn't met in Rio.

0:43:230:43:26

It was just incredible, and I think everyone had done so well.

0:43:260:43:30

I'm really proud to be Welsh.

0:43:300:43:31

Like, every time I win I always try and grab that Welsh flag as well,

0:43:310:43:35

just to run round with it.

0:43:350:43:37

It's amazing to become the first-ever, you know,

0:43:370:43:40

back-to-back Olympic champion.

0:43:400:43:42

# ..Baby, it's a livin' thing... #

0:43:420:43:46

To see my kids there,

0:43:480:43:49

to know as they get older they'll realise what their dad's been

0:43:490:43:51

able to do and achieve, was the best thing for me, I think.

0:43:510:43:55

Definitely the pinnacle of our careers for the Welsh players.

0:43:550:43:59

I thought there'd be a lot of people waiting in Cardiff,

0:44:000:44:02

I didn't expect that. None of us did.

0:44:020:44:05

I never, ever imagined we'd ever be in that position,

0:44:050:44:08

where we'd made the country that proud of us.

0:44:080:44:11

# ..Oh, rolling and riding and slipping and sliding

0:44:110:44:16

# It's magic

0:44:160:44:18

# And you

0:44:190:44:22

# And your sweet desire

0:44:220:44:27

# You took me

0:44:270:44:30

# Oh, higher and higher, baby

0:44:300:44:35

# It's a livin' thing... #

0:44:350:44:37

It was one of the greatest summers for Welsh sport. From Wales's stunning Euro 2016 campaign to the record-breaking Olympics in Rio, Eddie Butler tells the story of the Welsh footballers and athletes who shone on the biggest stage. Interviewees include Welsh footballers Hal Robson Kanu and Neil Taylor, Olympians Jade Jones and Becky James and Paralympians Robert Davies and Aled Sion Davies.