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Archive for August 3rd, 2012

“Unbelievable” home support at London 2012 is proving a magnificent spur for Team GB

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Off to a flying start: Jessica Ennis has responded to "unbelievable" home support

Off to a flying start: Jessica Ennis has responded to "unbelievable" home support

BY JOHN GUBBA

As Team GB surge up the medal table at London 2012, do not underestimate the value of the remarkable,  inspirational home crowd. Every single British athlete to make the podium has paid tribute to the phenomenal support and it is wonderful to see.

The noise on the opening day of athletics in the Olympic Stadium, as Lord Sebastian Coe  proudly declared, is “unbelievable.” And it is the same at every single venue of a spectacular Games.

Watching heptathlon’s poster girl Jessica Ennis produce a personal best to dramatically catch her Dutch rival on the line in the 200 metres this evening,” the BBC commentator roared: “And the crowd carried her over the line.”

It was no exaggeration. Ennis’s breathtaking display put her on a total of 4,158 points, her best ever first-day score and enough for a lead of 184 points over Austra Skujyte.

Earlier Ennis got her quest for gold off to a phenomenal start, destroying her personal 100m hurdles best by 0.25 secs in the fastest ever 100m hurdles by a heptathlete. It was no surprise to hear GB’s golden girl pay tribute to the home support.

“I’m speechless. When I crossed the line I had to double-check. I knew it would be a quick race but I still cannot believe I ran that time. Just stepping into the stadium the crowd really lifted me and got me that great time,” said Ennis.

The home support was just as deafening at Eton Dorney as joyous fans roared Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins to gold in the women’s double sculls. And it was the same at the Velodrome where Victoria Pendleton wiped away the tears after edging to the narrowest of winning margins in the keirin after the Men’s Pursuit Team broke their own world record on the way to gold.

Even when our heroes have fallen short of anticipated gold  there has been unconditional support from the knowledgable home fans who have been generous in their salute to every outstanding performance from every nation.

Rebecca Adlington - proud of her second bronze - was given a rapturous ovation for her unique achievement

Rebecca Adlington - proud of her second bronze - was given a rapturous ovation for her unique achievement

At the Aquatics Centre it was beautiful to hear the appreciative crowd chant ‘Becky, Becky” after watching Rebecca Adington give absolutely everything on her way to a second bronze of the Games in the 800 metres freestyle.

Tonight’s medal makes Adlington the first British swimmer in history to win four individual Olympic medals and it was great to hear her passionately proclaim: “I’m so proud and pleased to get a bronze medal. It’s nothing ever to be embarrassed about. I hate it when people say silver or bronze is losing because you have not done my sport.”

Earlier in the day, Alan Campbell could barely stand up after winning an incredibly brave bronze on the single sculls. But he still found the energy to thank the crowd for their amazing support in driving him to dig deeper to edge past Sweden’s Lassi Karonen.

“The crowd really lifted me. I could see Lassi. He was going harder than I thought but knowing the shouts were for me meant I had to go now or never and secure that medal,” said Campbell.

 

 

 

 

Day 7: They’ve done it! Gold for Kathy Grainger and Anna Watkins followed by glory for Victoria Pendleton and Men’s Team Pursuit

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Golden girls: Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins celebrate women's double sculls win

Golden girls: Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger celebrate women's double sculls win

BY JOHN GUBBA

There will be no more popular winner at Eton Dorney than Kathy Grainger – what a great moment to see the three times Olympic silver medalist finally win her Big G with Anna Watkins in the women’s double sculls.

It was an emotional achievement by the 35-year-old Scot, six times a world champion and desperate to claim the Olympic gold she has coveted throughout a long and chequered career.

To fulfil her dream in front of a raucous 30,000-strong crowd at Eton’s Dorney – crossing the line with Watkins a length clear of closest rivals Australia – made it extra special. It was a compelling drama

CYCLING: One of the stand-out images of the Games so far for me was watching Victoria Pendleton claim Team GB’s third gold medal in two days of competition at the  velodrome with a stunning triumph in the keirin.

Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh break their own world record to win gold in the Men's Team Pursuit

Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh break their own world record to win gold in the Men's Team Pursuit

Moments after watching Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh and Steven Burke clock a world record three minutes 51.659 seconds to triumph by a supreme margin ahead of arch-rivals Australia in the men’s team pursuit, Pendleton delivered in her least favoured event.

A devastating burst of speed with one-and-ahalf  laps to go blew away the competition. It was an awesome display by the 31-year-old who is set to retire after London 2012, leaving Guo Shuang of China second, Lee Wai Sze of Hong Kong third and her arch rival Anna Meares, the world champion, trailing in fifth.

Devastated after disqualification with Jess Varnish in yesterday’s team sprint, Pendleton let all her emotions out when she stepped onto the podium in front of  6,000 fans.