Olympic24: Young makes history while records fall in Sheffield
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Olympic24: Young makes history while records fall in Sheffield

20 December 2015 / 10:05

Andrew Young becomes the first Brit to win a World Cup cross-country ski sprint medal as two more British records are broken at the National Swimming Championships. Here's our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Andrew Young claims a memorable bronze at the World Cup event in Toblach, Italy
  • Georgia Davies and Molly Renshaw both set new British records at the ASA National Swimming Championships
  • Angus Groom proves he is rounding into top form by triumphing at the GB Rowing Team winter assessment
  • The pressure is high on skier Katie Summerhayes but she is not letting added expectation faze her
  • Paul Bennett lauds British rowing's strength in depth
  • William Whitaker rides away with gold at Olympia
  • Guess the athlete for a chance to win £2000 to spend at DFS

Young claims historic bronze

Andrew Young wrote his name into the record books after becoming the first Briton to win a World Cup cross-country ski sprint medal with a third-place finish in Italy.

Young, who represented Team GB at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014, picked up bronze in Toblach behind home favourite Federico Pellegrino and Simeon Hamilton of the United States.

The 23-year-old had earlier won his semi-final to qualify for his first final and then led midway through the medal race.

And while unable to hold on for the victory, Young could not hide his delight at making the medal rostrum.

“First final, first podium, it was an amazing day. I had perfect skis. The whole team worked really hard,” he said.

“I had worked a lot on the qualification before the winter. Last season I was a lot between 30th and 45th place.

“I felt strong the whole day. I had a good start and a very good middle part.

“Over the stadium I was in the lead and I thought I would win it but then Pellegrino and Simi were too strong in the finish.”

Davies and Renshaw break British records

Georgia Davies and Molly Renshaw both British records en route to winning gold at the ASA National Swimming Championships in Sheffield.

Davies won the women’s 50m backstroke in 26.24 seconds, knocking one-tenth of a second off her own previous best before Renshaw clocked 1:05.22 to triumph in the 100m breaststroke.

The duo were then also part of the Loughborough team that won the 4x100m medley relay title while Jemma Lowe won the 100m butterfly.

Joe Elwood made it two gold medals in as many days by adding the men’s 100m backstroke title to the 50m title he claimed on Friday, Sam Horrocks was triumphant in the 200m butterfly and Lawrence Palmer won 50m breaststroke gold.

Groom lays down early Olympic marker

Angus Groom laid down an early claim for a place in one of Team GB’s Olympic boats in Rio next year as he won the open men’s single sculls at the GB Rowing Team winter assessment.

The 23-year-old beat Olympic bronze medallist Alan Campbell with a time of 6:57.8 minutes and his victory was all the more impressive in light of his recent injuries.

Groom was forced to undergo intensive treatment for a disc problem only a few weeks ago but he is adamant the result was no surprise to him.

“I feel more satisfied than surprised,” said Groom. “I feel that I had a good training camp up in the Sierra Nevada recently and set a personal best on the ergo, so I knew that I was back to my best physically.

“I was slightly ahead at halfway and thought I would give it my best shot and I knew that Alan has a devastating sprint finish so I wanted to row that out of him early in that second half.

“Like everyone here, I have big ambitions for this year.”

Vicky Thornley won the equivalent women’s event, Will Fletcher was men’s lightweight champion while the lightweight women’s title was claimed by Kat Copeland.

And after winning the men’s pair event alongside partner Constantine Louloudis, Pete Reed was ecstatic to recapture his best form after a sub-par showing at last weekend’s British Rowing Indoor Championships.

“It was quite a turnaround,” said Reed. “I don’t know what happened last weekend but I’d like to say thanks to the physios, especially Sally Brown, who work with the team.

“They have helped loosen off the whole area around my rib cage and diaphragm. Before that I felt really restricted.

“So I am pleased with the result today which was achieved in good fashion against top opposition. Stan has a big engine and he is great to row with.”

Summerhayes staying grounded 

Freestyle skier Katie Summerhayes insists she is not going to let increased expectation levels go to her head this season as she aims to claim her first tour win.

Back in January Summerhayes made history when she became the first British female skier to claim a freestyle World Championships medal with silver in the slopestyle final in Kreischberg.

She had already been tipped as one to watch having carried the flag on behalf of Team GB at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics while a year later she picked up World Cup silver in Silvaplana, Switzerland – again the first time a British female skier had finished on the podium in a World Cup event.

But despite regularly challenging the world’s best, the 20-year-old is not getting carried away.

“I don’t want to be like ‘I want to win everything’ because I don’t want to not live up to it, but I would love to win a competition and I’ve been working really hard this summer,” she said.

“Last season was fun. It was the year after the Olympics so it was a bit of a weird season, but I had a great time, great fun and got a couple of good results.

“I came second at the World Championship, so I was super stoked. But you have to approach every competition the same, you don’t know what the course is going to be until you get there.”

Read more from Summerhayes here

Bennett: British rowing has incredible strength in depth 

Paul Bennett believes British rowing has ‘terrifying’ strength in depth as he gears up for a mammoth campaign that could see him make his Olympic bow next summer.

Preparations for Rio are well underway for Britain’s rowers with Bennett and co securing Team GB a place in the eight at next summer’s Games by winning World Championship gold earlier this year.

That competition will be one of many for the Brits between now and August with University of Oxford alumni Bennett keen to add to his men’s eight World Championship gold medals from the past two years.

And the 27-year-old thinks all the talent is in place for Britain to maintain their legacy on the Olympic stage.

“Where we are at the moment we have a ridiculously strong British rowing squad and we are moving in the right direction which is really positive,” said Bennett. 

“But alternatively it could be a case of let’s get going a little bit because we only have nine months here but I am full of confidence at the moment.

“I think we have a very strong squad and being a member of that squad is very intimidating.

“This is my first Olympic cycle so people who were in London I looked at with awe and now I am rowing with them and sometimes even against them.

“That’s terrifying but that’s the amount of strength there is in this squad, people said in 2014 we had the strongest British Rowing Championships ever and they are things that a lot of the guys feel buoyed by.”

Read what else Bennett had to say here.

Whitaker claims gold at Olympia

William Whitaker led a British one-three at Olympia by winning the Christmas Tree Stakes at the London International Horse Show.

Riding 10-year-old sire Balibu, Whitaker posted a 31.89 second jump-off with no penalties to edge Finland’s Anna-Julia Kontio, on Fardon, into second place.

And it was another Brit, John Whitaker riding Ornellaia, who claimed third place by clocking 32.09 second with no penalties in his jump off.

The bronze medallist ultimately only missed out on silver in the Christmas Tree Stakes, which was set at a height of 1.55m, by one-hundredth of a second.

And don't forget...

Today is day eight of our guess the athlete competition where you can win £2000 to spend at DFS if you’re able to guess correctly. To enter just click here

You can also win a signed top and London Anniversary Games tickets if you can guess who this Team GB athlete is. Youn can enter that competition by clicking here.

Sportsbeat 2015