TEAM GB is celebrating its first Olympic medal success after Yorkshire cyclist Lizzie Armitstead battled through torrential rain for a silver and Mansfield swimmer Rebecca Adlington earned a courageous bronze, writes Graham Walker.
Armitstead, earned second place in the women’s road race on The Mall and although Adlington was unable to defend her 400 metres freestyle title from the Beijing Games, she did enough to secure third place.
Armitstead, 23, from Otley near Leeds, banished the disappointment of the men’s road race as crowds billowing “Lizzie, Lizzie” swept her to silver.
Union Flag-waving fans lined the home straight of the 140km race despite the traditionally British weather, banging the hoardings as Armitstead secured her place on the podium.
She said: “It’s something very special and it hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m really, really happy. Maybe later I’ll start thinking about that gold, but I’m happy with silver at the moment.”
Adlington, also 23, said she was “so pleased” with her swim and praised the “absolutely amazing crowd” inside the Aquatics Centre.
Adlington was facing an uphill battle for gold amid strong competition in her weakest event and the fact that no Briton has ever successfully defended an Olympic swimming title.
She added: “I am so glad I have got a medal at a home Games. Not many people can say that. Everyone has been so amazing. These guys (fans) make it so worthwhile. It’s amazing the support I’ve had. That’s what we need, we need people to get behind us and support us.”
But there was some disappointment as Britain’s marathon world-record holder Paula Radcliffe’s Olympic dream was over as she was ruled out through injury.
“It hurts so much to finally admit to myself that it isn’t going to happen,” the 38-year-old said after a foot problem flared up again.