Britain enjoys best Olympic haul for a century
Amy Judd | August 16, 2008 at 07:39 pmby
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Britain had their gold day today.
British athletes scored medals in swimming, rowing, and cycling, resulting in one silver and four bronzes, and of course, a triumphant gold in the men's four rowing.
The irrepressibly smiling 19-year-old Rebecca Adlington began the cascade of medals, breaking the world record to win her second gold in the pool.
But that was only the beginning as the GB team's Beijing Super Saturday lived up to all the expectations with a series of spellbinding performances.
Supreme among them was the imperious Chris Hoy, the Edinburgh cyclist who eased to his second gold of the 2008 Games, adding to the one he won in Athens, to become Scotland's greatest Olympian.
In between, Bradley Wiggins also sprinted to gold in the Laoshan Velodrome and the GB's coxless four rowers pipped Australia by the narrowest of margins to clinch first place in a thrilling finish.
The medal haul would have been heavier had sailor Ben Ainslie not been becalmed and his race abandoned as he closed in on another gold.
Hoy's performance, with a second Scot, Ross Edgar, roaring
in behind to clinch silver in the keirin event, was celebrated throughout Britain, from Manchester Velodrome, where he trains, to his old stamping grounds north of the border.
The men's four rowing team repeated their Athens gold when they came behind to steal the victory from the Australians.
On Lake Shunyi on Saturday, Britain had to come from behind after letting Australia take almost a length lead off the start. Strokeman Alex Triggs-Hodge said the final 250 metres had been just like when your car has veered off the road and heading for a tree. "I closed my eyes and hoped for the best," he told a news conference. Steve Williams, who won in Athens in the four, said it was not getting any easier to win gold. "We just had a sniff with 200 to go," Williams told reporters after getting out of the boat. "We thought we had a chance and we put our heads down. "It was probably ugly at that stage, very ugly, just digging deep. It was beyond skills almost, it was so primeval.
Great job today Great Britain.
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