Monday, August 11, 2008

British Women Leading the Gold Rush

Picture from Daily Mail
Oh yes plenty of jumping up and down on the sofa over the first few days of the Olympics. Although hopefully the neighbours weren't too disturbed by Mister Stephen's whoops at around 10:30 yesterday morning and even earlier this morning. Mister Stephen as an ex-athlete and still competitive sportsman really is a great olympic-phile he was even caught watching live archery this morning on interactive, whilst Rafa Nadal was another option.

However, Team GB&NI (have to give the full IOC recognised name) saw their 200th ever gold medal came after a great team performance in the women's cycling road race. Nicole Cooke was in a breakaway of five entering the last corner of the course, but had dropped off on team orders because of concerns over the wetness of the rain soaked course that a crash may happen. She made up the 20 metres of so she'd dropped behind on the climb to the finish to make up for coming fifth four years ago.

But she was quick to go and hug teammates Emma Pooley and Sharon Laws who had aided he win. Pooley had attacked on the climb on the first finishing circuit and again at the foot of the second and final climb. Which forced other countries to haul her back while Nicole sat and waited. Sharon had been on the ground twice through crashes but took her turns at or near the front to ensure that Nicole was ready for a final surge. With 5 kms to go Nicole found herself in the decisive break that was to stay ahead of the main field to the end thanks to the work her teammates had previously done and continued to do disrupting the chase.

Picture from BBC
Then this morning the first gold in the pool for GB since Aidrian Moorehouse, who was commentating, in 1984 and the first for a women competitor since Anita Lonsburgh in 1960 went to Rebecca Adlington. Like Cooke she came from behind at the end to snatch the women's 400m freestyle. Not even in the top 3 at the final turn behind America's Katie Hoff and teammate Jo Jackson. Hoff at 25 metres appeared to have gold sown up a whole body length if not more ahead of the two Brits who appeared to have sealed the minor medals but somehow the Brits kept coming at Hoff and on the final stroke Adlington for the only time in the race was ahead, winning by seven hundredths of a second. She only led the race for a mere fraction of a second but it was the vital fraction of time when it mattered.

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