Mon, Aug 06, 2012 - Page 20 News List

London 2012 Olympics: British make records with Beatle

Reuters, LONDON

Britain’s Laura Trott celebrates winning the women’s cycling team pursuit final at the London Velodrome on Saturday.

Photo: EPA

British rider Laura Trott blew a kiss at Paul McCartney on Saturday, while the former Beatle waved the Union Flag and sang Hey Jude as they celebrated the host nation’s fourth track cycling gold with a delirious crowd.

Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell had just crushed their own world record to humiliate the US in the team pursuit final, flying along a spine-chilling, ear-splitting wall of noise in the 6,000-capacity London Velodrome.

The trio added to the men’s pursuit and sprint teams titles, as well as Victoria Pendleton’s keirin gold, as Britain continued their utter domination, having broken eight world records and left their rivals only one gold in three days.

On Saturday, King, Rowsell and Trott — at 20 years and 102 days the youngest Olympic gold medalist in women’s track cycling — produced an awe-inspiring display of power and poise, and they looked on the verge of lapping the US in the final.

“They [the crowd] kept us going in that last kilometer. You couldn’t even feel your legs, you were just driving forward,” King told reporters.

“It’s mad, I can’t believe it, it’s been my dream since I was eight, we’ve gone and done it. I don’t think we expected it,” Trott said. “It’s unbelievable. We didn’t expect a Beatle to be here. It’s not often that you can say you’ve waved and blown a kiss at a Beatle.”

The last six times the trio took to the track, they broke the world record.

“You never want to be complacent, but we had had a great day and I felt we had more to give coming into the final race,” Rowsell said.

Canada took the bronze by beating Australia, with Melissa Hoskins and Josephine Tomic appearing in tears before the media.

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Chang Hao finished 37th of 38 in race 7 and 37th of 38 in race 8.

“I feel absolutely devastated. We left everything on the track, so we can walk away with no regrets,” Tomic said.

Australia, Britain’s fiercest rivals on the track, have only collected two medals — the women’s team sprint bronze and the men’s team pursuit silver.

“They’re [Britain] in a league of their own,” US rider Jennie Reed said.

The baby-faced Jason Kenny and triple world champion Gregory Bauge of France had both looked in a class of their own earlier on Saturday as they progressed to the quarter-finals of the individual sprint.

Both riders were without opponents in the last 16.

The enthusiasm surrounding the British track team is such that the Velodrome was already packed for the morning session, which turned into a farce essentially because of abstruse rules.

The International Cycling Union felt it needed to spice up a format in which you can already lose twice and still advance by allowing 17 riders into the 1/16 final matchups.

As a result, Briton Kenny, who was chosen by Team GB at the expense of defending champion Chris Hoy because only one rider per nation is allowed in the sprint events, found himself with no opponent as the morning session drew to an anti-climatic end.

With a training helmet, Kenny still had to start his match with Mr Nobody, covering half a lap waving at the crowd with a rather embarrassed look on his face.

Kenny made light work of his next actual opponent to ease into the quarter-finals, with the other favorite, German Robert Foerstemann, the man whose thighs are bigger than his wife’s waist, going through a repechage race to advance.

The quarter-final matches see Kenny facing Azizulhasni Awan of Malaysia and Bauge taking on Foerstemann.

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