Olympic Track Day 6: Sixth gold for Hoy, Laura Trott wins omnium, but Anna Meares denies Victoria Pendleton golden goodbye

Trott takes second gold at age of just 20, Hoy takes sixth of career, a record for any British athlete

by Simon_MacMichael   August 7, 2012  

Olympic Rings and Velodrome

Two cyclists at opposite ends of their Olympic career, Laura Trott and Sir Chris Hoy, won their second gold medals of London 2012 in the Olympic Velodrome tonight - and in Hoy's case a record breaking sixth in his career - but there was disappointment for Victoria Pedleton, whose career ended with a silver medal in the final of the individual sprint as she was beaten by Australia's Anna Meares.

Trott won the women's omnium following a nail-biting battle with Sarah Hammer of the United States, while Hoy put in a storming ride to successfully defend the keirin title he won in Beijing. Hoy, who won his fifth Olympic gold in the team sprint last week, now moves ahead of Sir Steve Redgrave as the only British athlete to have won six gold medals. In the women's sprint, Pendleton, the defending champion, had won the opening race by a thousandth of a second but was relegated from the results after straying out of her lane as the riders went shoulder to shoulder approaching the line.

The gold medals won by Hoy and Trott mean that with the mountain bike and BMX events still to come, with a total of four golds still up for grabs, Great Britain's cyclists have won the same number, eight, as they did in Beijing four years ago, a performance that had widely been seen as impossible to beat, in part because of changes to the track programme. As in China, however, seven golds went to Great Britain in the velodrome, although the restriction of one rider per nation in the individual events meant the Beijing track total of 12 medals was out of reach, with nine won across the ten events in London.

With Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome taking gold and silver respectively in the individual time trial last week, and Lizzie Armitstead cliching silver in the women's road race, Great Britain now has eight golds among a total of 12 medals to date, so the total haul in Beijoing across the four Olympic disciplines isn't out of reach yet.

Women's Omnium

Trott went into the final event, the 500m time trial, two points behind Hammer of the United States. The two women had been tied on 12 points overnight, the Briton in the lead on countback.

The leading pair posted the two quickest times in today's opening event, the 3km individual pursuit, Hammer going a little under a second fastet than Trott to move into the lead by just one point.

Hammer extended her lead in the points race, finishing second to Annette Edmondson of Australia, with Trott third, which made the calculation for the final event simple - Trott had to finish three places ahead of Hammer to be certain of gold.

As the pair lined up for the final heat, it was a given that Trott, riding one of her strongest disciplines, would beat Hammer, but the two big questions were whether she would be able to beat the fastest time of 35.140, set by Edmondson, and how high the American would finish up the order.

If the 20-year-old Trott, who comes from Cheshunt, a few miles north of the Olympic Park, felt pressure, it didn't translate into her riding as she stormed round the two laps in the quickest time of 35.110 seconds.

The time of 35.900 set by Hammer, nine years Trott's senior, was not only slower than Edmondson's, but also that posted by French spriter Clara Sanchez to give Trott her second gold medal of the Games by just one point. Edmondson finished five points further back but secured bronze.

"I can't believe this has happened to me," confessed Trott after sealing her victory. “I was losing my head a little bit between the events because they weren't going the way I wanted them to, so I am so happy.

"My coaches really helped me to peak on time. I couldn't ask from much more from the coaching staff. They've helped me improve so much since the world championships. My family and friends are here, and the support of the crowd was amazing."

The double Olympic champion admitted that she could not have come so far so quickly were it not for the support of her family. "I couldn't have done it without them. The amount of money they put in when I was young and they had to take me everywhere.. my dad had to give up his cricket!

"I am so happy and I cannot thank everyone enough. I came into today not feeling as good as yesterday so to finish off with that last 500m is unbelievable."

Women's individual sprint

Australia have had a difficult Olympics and their track cyclists have been no exception, with only silver in the men's team pursuit and bronze medals in the women's team sprint and for Shane Perkins in the men's individual sprint to show for their efforts going into the final day of competition.

There was a certain inevitability that Anna Meares, individual sprint silver medallist in Beijing, would line up against defending champion Victoria Pendleton for the final race of the British rider's caree, and both negotiated their semi-finals 2-0, Pendleton beating Germany's Kristina Vogel and Meares seeing off China's Guo Shuang, who would go on to take bronze.

In the world championships in Melbourne in April, the two rivals had met at the semi-final stage, Pendleton crashing out of the first race then levelling at one all after Meares was relegated for straying outside her lane. Pendleton won the third and deciding heat on a photo finish.

Today's first race of the best-of-three final also went to a photograph, Pendleton adjudged to have won by just one-thousandth of a second as Meares, finishing strongly, failed to overhaul her by the narrowest of margins.

However, the partisan crowd's cheers soon became muted as it became apparent that the commissaires were examining footage of the two women clashing as they entered the home straight, and decided that Pendleton had briefly deviated from her lane.

The heat went to Meares, with Pendleton relegated, and it would prove the second time in three events here at the velodrome that a decision by the judges potentially cost her the chance of a gold medal after she and Jessica Varnish were relegated from the quarter finals of the team sprint last week for an illegal changeover.

Pendleton, of course, still had two heats in which to turn the situatiuon around, but entering the second race one-nil down instead of enjoying the lead meant that she had to ride a very different race. Hoping to catch Meares off guard, the British rider went early with two of the three laps still to race, but Meares quckly closed down the gap then came round her rival on the back straight and won the heat - and with it, the gold medal - convincingly with no need for a photograph to separate the two riders this time.

"I would have loved to have won on my final race, but I'm just so glad that's it all done and I can move on," an emotional Pendleton admitted afterwards. "These have been the hardest four years of my life, the pressure of going into the Olympics as Olympic champion, I couldn’t go through it again. You could pay me a billion pounds I couldn’t go through that again.”

Referring to that relegation from the first race of the final, she said: “It’s up to them to make the decision and it’s just one of those things that happens. I thought she bumped into me and that may have caused me to move out. When you are going at that speed your balance is easily thrown.

“But I don’t know, I haven’t checked it out and I’m just glad it’s over. I was pretty peed off because I’m normally pretty good at coming back from one down.”

“I just made a bad decision, you can’t always do things perfectly in the heat of the moment and I didn’t do it perfectly tonight.”

Of her battles over the years with Meares, which became one of the most compelling in the sport and especially heading to these Olympics with female sprinters having three gold medal chances rather than the one they had before, she said: “We have had a fantastic rivalry and I’ve loved every minute.

“I don’t there have been two women at that level in cycling and I don’t think there ever will be again. It’s been epic, it’s been emotional and I hope it’s been entertaining.”

Men's Keirin

A medal of any colour would put Hoy level on seven with Bradley Wiggins on total Olympic medals won, and the Scot's part in the men's team sprint last week meant that he had already matched Sir Steve Redgrave on five gold medals. Victory in his First and Second Round heats put the 36-year-old into the final, with Germany's Maximillian Levy, who had also won both his heats, the pick of the opposition.

It proved to be a thrilling end to Hoy's Olympic career, and one that had another packed crowd in the velodrome on tenterhooks as they wondered whether he had gone too early. Sitting fourth of the six riders as the derny led them round the track, after it peeled off Hoy came round on the outside of Malaysia's Azizulhasni Awang and Germany's Levy to power to the front with two laps still to go.

He opened a gap, but Levy responded, and heading down the back straight, the German was in front, with Hoy on his inside. By the time they came off the final bend, however, it was clear that victory was Hoy's as he made history by becoming the first British Olympian to win six gold medals, watched from the trackside by Redgrave.

Levy took silver, and with no way of telling from the finish line which of the two riders vying for bronze had crossed first, unusually Simon Van Velthooven of New Zealand and Teun Mulder of the Netherlands were both awarded a medal.

Modestly, the one-time rower Hoy, who had brushed away tears as he received his medal on the podium, insisted that irrespective of how many gold medals anyone won, Redgrave would remain his hero and, in his opinion, the greatest Olympic athlete, pointing out that his gold medals had been secured at five separate Games.

"I was  in a right old state," confessed Hoy of his tears on the podium. "I saw Feliz Sanchez last night in the 400 metres hurdles. There are so many hard moments where you are doubting yourseld in the four years ...it is a long, long time.

"You only see the polished product at the end of the day, four years of hard work, injury, disappointment, defeat ... it is not a glamourous thing. As a cyclist you have to put a lot of hard yards in and that's why you enjoy these moments. Because that's what makes it all worthwhile.

"I'm in shock, you try and compose yourself but it's surreal. I wanted to win gold in front of my home crowd. I saw everyone stepping up to the plate and thankfully it worked out for me too.

"This is the perfect end to my Olympic career. At Sydney, I was just over the moon with a silver medal. If I'd have stopped then I would have been a happy boy, but to go on to Athens, Bejing and here, I can't put it into words."

"The keirin is a lottery and you never take anything for granted in i. I can't describe the feelings I have at the moment. This is enough for me, this is the perfect end to my Olympic career.

While Hoy has ridden his last Olympics, unlike Pendleton he won't be retiring immediately, and it's likely that his swasong will come in Glasgow in 2016 at the Commonwealth Games, riding in the velodrome that bears his name.

"I'm 99.9 per cent sure I won't be competing in Rio. How can you top this? The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in two years is another question, as that would be the dream ending for me."

 

 

 

 

13 user comments

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Oh Trotty.....yum....I mean well done. Wink

NOT happy with the outcome of the sprint final race one Angry But Meares powered to the second race

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8796 posts]
7th August 2012 - 17:58

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If Meares had won race one would she have been relegated?

Well done Chris Hoy and Laura Trott....great stuff

posted by manuka [36 posts]
7th August 2012 - 18:16

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The sprint race one was general argy bargy, nothing wrong with it in my eyes but Vicky coming out of the lane did cause Mears to slow down and in all likelihood to get beaten.

I say its on the harsh side but ultimately understandable and fair.

Congrats to Trott, the future of British cycling and probably going to be the most successful female British Olympian in a few years time if not THE most successful (male and female) if she keeps this up.

Also, well done Hoy, he really does own the keirin.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
7th August 2012 - 18:53

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Thats not what caused Meares to slow at all. What caused her to do that was the elbow she threw into VP's arse Wink

BUT HOY HOY HOY Big Grin Now officially the GREATEST Olympian in GB, but also from Scotland Wink

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8796 posts]
7th August 2012 - 18:57

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Pfft, without Yorkshire GB, wouldn't be anywhere Big Grin Clancy, the Brownlees, Ennis, without us Scotland wouldn't even be able to get a team together Wink

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
7th August 2012 - 19:08

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We only have 9% of the GB team, but have weight in with more that 50% of the medals there DR..... Wink

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posted by Gkam84 [8796 posts]
7th August 2012 - 19:32

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My birthplace, Aberdeen, has the same number of golds as Australia Rolling On The Floor

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8004 posts]
7th August 2012 - 20:05

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The 50% has dropped now, Just had a look. Scotland has 7 Gold 3 Silver 1 Bronze. So far Wink

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8796 posts]
7th August 2012 - 20:41

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He'll be last if he turns up in Glasgow in 2016 guys - its Glasgow 2014!

Loving the contrast between the cyclists, rowers and other athletes compared to the diet of footballers with egos and salaries to match.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

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posted by A V Lowe [481 posts]
7th August 2012 - 22:58

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Well done to Chris, Laura AND Vicky - cant help noticing none of you have said this, she did still get silver, in addition to 2 Olympic golds (total) already won, as well as a frankly ridiculous 9 world champs, 2 European champs and 1 commonwealth gold. Brilliant careers, it feels like the end of an era to see Chris and Vicky bow out.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3082 posts]
7th August 2012 - 23:54

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Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, England, IOM, IOW, Yorkshire etc. It's still a GREAT Birtain!

posted by GrimpeurChris [59 posts]
8th August 2012 - 10:36

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notfastenough wrote:
cant help noticing none of you have said this, she did still get silver

Yeah, but no-one aims for silver.

As your list demonstrates, she's a winner and winners only really want one colour. Anything else is a disappointment after the hard work they put in. But she can retire from the sport knowing she has put absolutely everything into it and done a fantastic job. It looked from the post-race interview like she was very relieved it has ended.

Chris is a superstar, a superb athlete with impeccable manners, a fine example and a true talisman for the whole team.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1941 posts]
8th August 2012 - 10:50

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Sure, she didn't aim for silver, but 2nd place is still a mighty achievement, and one worthy of congratulation, especially given the nature in which Meares was awarded the first race.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3082 posts]
8th August 2012 - 13:45

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