Let the Medals begin
July 30, 2012 07:43 am
TEAM GB launched their medal collection on Day Two of the London 2012 Games - and it was the women to the fore with Lizzie Armitstead leading the way with Silver in the women's cycling road race.
It was not long before the second medal arrived and it was Beijing heroine Rebecca Adlington who claimed a Bronze in the 400 metres freestyle.
But it was Armitstead (pictured left on the podium, above) who secured Team GB’s first medal of the Games with Silver in the women’s cycling road race on The Mall in London on Sunday afternoon.
Otley-based Armitstead, 23, was just edged out on the line by the Netherlands’ Marianne Vos after they had broken away on the final climb of Box Hill during the 140-kilometre event.
Rain showers throughout the race turned into a heavy and consistent downpour towards the end, but the four breakaway riders still managed to quickly establish a lead of around 20 seconds over the peloton.
Russian Olga Zabelinskaya led out the final kilometre to the finish on The Mall, but the other two were barely out of the saddle and were waiting for each other to make a move.
Eventually, Vos put the hammer down in the final 300 metres. Armitstead closed the gap but could not catch the Dutch rider, crossing the line just inches behind.
Armitstead claimed the first-medal honour that many thought would have arrived in the men's road race on Saturday. But she said: "It’s not at all something that I would have expected, of course I would have loved for the men to win a medal yesterday. It’s not something that I had even contemplated or thought about so I’m over the moon.
"I don’t think it will sink in for the next few weeks, I think it’s because I’ve got another race in the time trial on Wednesday so I’m still in competition.
“Winning this race in front of my family and friends is the most special thing I’ve ever experienced in my life; it’s so crazy and so inspiring!
"The crowd was unbelievable, we were kind of pulled along by the noise, I've never experienced anything like it I just felt exhilarated all the way."
Rebecca Adlington back in the medals
If it was Armitstead's afternoon, the cheers in the evening for Team GB came in the Aquatics Centre for Rebecca Adlington who recorded Team GB’s second medal of the Games by securing Bronze in the 400m freestyle event .
In doing so, Adlington became the first British swimmer in history to win medals at two successive Olympic Games after her two Golds at Beijing 2008.
The Mansfield-born swimmer, 23, thrilled a vociferous home crowd in the Aquatics Centre with a well-executed race plan which saw her cement third place with a strong final 50 metres.
Pre-race Gold medal favourite Camille Muffat lived up to the hype and did not disappoint, setting a new Olympic record of 4:01.45 as she claimed her first Olympic title ahead of American Allison Schmitt.
“After only qualifying in eighth this morning I didn't know what to expect, and tonight there was no pressure on me at all,” said Adlington. “I know everyone else wanted to say, 'Oh you got the gold in Beijing,' but to me I was not expecting that at all, so I am so, so pleased with that tonight.”
Moved by the support of the crowd, Adlington choked back tears when describing the pride she felt .
“I'm crying because the crowd is so overwhelming,” she said. Twelve years of hard work has gone into that and it's hard, it was so hard. It's always the 400m that feels tougher than the 800m. I'm so glad I got a medal at a home Games, not many people can say that.”
Radcliffe out of the marathon
Team GB marathon runner Paula Radcliffe has been forced to withdraw from the Olympics due to medical reasons.
Radcliffe has been suffering with a foot problem and after a fitness test on Sunday it was concluded that she would not be able to race competitively to the best of her abilities.
“From the day when it was announced that London had won the bid, taking part and performing well in the London Olympic Games has been a major goal in my life. That is why it hurts so much to finally admit to myself that it isn't going to happen.”
The BOA and UK Athletics also intend to nominate a replacement athlete, and they will work with the International Olympic Committee and International Association of Athletics Federations to secure approval under the Late Athlete Replacement policy. Freya Murray is the reserve for the Marathon.
The men’s artistic gymnastics team will look to stun the world again as they compete in the team final today.
The team outscored Olympic champions China as they topped their session and were only outscored by USA and Russia as they qualified third overall with a score of 272.420, and also secured five places in the individual finals.
Louis Smith will look to better his Beijing Bronze in the pommel horse after his spectacular routine in the qualifying round saw him score 15.800 and will be joined by 19-year-old Max Whitlock in the final.
Kristian Thomas and Dan Purvis will compete in the all-round final after qualifying fifth and tenth respectively, with Thomas also qualifying for the vault final as Team GB’s men’s gymnasts compete in the first Olympic final of the post-war period.
Liam Tancock will compete in the final of the Men’s 100m Backstroke today with fellow Brit Robbie Renwick also confirming his place in the Men’s 200m freestyle.
Both booked their places last night, with Tancock placing second in his semi-final in a time of 53.25 seconds, while Renwick finished third in his with a time of one minute 46.55 seconds.
Gemma Spofforth will also compete in the final of the Women’s 100m Backstroke after reserving her spot with a third place finish in her semi-final with a time of 59.70.
The three British swimmers will look to boost Team GB’s medal tally in the pool after Rebecca Adlington’s success last night.
Daley and Waterfield look to make a splash
Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield will be in action for Team GB in the Synchronised 10m platform today.
The pair are the current World Series champions and will be looking to occupy one of the positions on the podium. Perhaps even improving on Waterfield’s Silver medal in Athens, Britain’s first medal in the event since the 1960 Rome Olympics.
While Waterfield will be competing in his fourth Olympics, this will be only the second time that his partner Daley will have featured.
Other GB medal hopes...
Zoe Smith competes in the women’s 58kg Weightlifting. The teenager finished fourth in the European Championships and will compete in her first Olympic Games.
Daniel Williams will compete in the -73kg of the Judo against Rasul Boqiev, while Sarah Clarke will enter the -57kg against Pavia Automne.