Olympics: Wiggins Claims Second Gold For GB
Cyclist Bradley Wiggins has won Team GB’s second gold medal of the London Olympics after Helen Glover and Heather Stanning’s triumph in the rowing this morning.
Christopher Froome made it two podium finishes for Britain in the men’s time trial with a bronze, just behind Tony Martin of Germany.
Wiggins’ wife Cath and two children Ben and Isabella were among those screaming with delight as the Tour de France winner completed the 44-kilometre course in the fastest time.
Thousands of cycling fans waving British flags lined the route, with some holding banners re-naming the day Wiggo Wednesday.
They broke out into noisy chants of “Wiggo Wiggo!” as their hero secured top spot – and a place in the record books as Britain’s most decorated Olympian with seven medals in all, one more than Sir Steve Redgrave.
Wiggins’ Team Sky cycling team-mate Mark Cavendish tweeted: “As if being the 1st British Tour de France winner didn’t make enough history, @bradwiggins just won his 7th Olympic medal! GOLD.”
And Sir Chris Hoy, who goes for cycling gold tomorrow, tweeted: “YESSSSSS!! Absolutely delighted for @bradwiggins and @chrisfroome. History made today.”
His win and Froome’s bronze lifted Team GB to 10th in the medal table with eight gongs – two golds, two silvers and four bronze. It put them ahead of where the team was at the same point in the Beijing Games four years ago.
Prime Minister David Cameron congratulated Wiggins in a message on the 10 Downing Street Twitter feed. The PM said: “@bradwiggins is a true British hero. First the Tour & now Olympic Gold. @chrisfroome great too. A wonderful day for @TeamGB.”
Earlier at Eton Dorney, Glover and Stanning stormed to victory in the women’s pairs, lifting Britain’s first gold of Games and becoming the first British women to take an Olympic rowing gold in the process.
A short while later the men’s eight claimed bronze behind Germany and Canada, the champions in Beijing.
Glover and Stanning led from the front in a dominant performance which saw the opposition trail in their wake.
The favourites crossed the line in seven minutes, 27.13 seconds. Australia took silver a length back, with New Zealand earning the bronze.
After finishing, Glover and Stanning hugged each other with joy and saluted the crowd, which included Princes William and Harry and the Princess Royal.
Stanning told the BBC: “I’m absolutely shattered and absolutely ecstatic at the same time. I want to collapse but I’m just so overjoyed, I just want to jump around at the same time.”
Glover appeared to smile as the pair approached the finish line. “It was probably a grimace,” she said. “I don’t remember smiling because I never remember thinking we’ve got this.”
Sports minister Hugh Robertson said: “It is an absolutely fantastic result. First home gold and the first ever female rowing gold medal, so two pieces of Olympic history and a really great race.”
Stanning, 27, a British army captain, and Glover, 26, a former physical education teacher, are unbeaten in 2012 and set an Olympic-best time in the heats. Amazingly they have only been rowing together for three years.
The pair were never threatened during the race. After 1,000 metres they were 3.42 seconds ahead, increasing their lead over New Zealand to more then five seconds at the 1,500-metre marker.
As they raced along the packed the grandstands in the final 300 metres, they visibly tired but were too far ahead to be caught.
Royal Mail has announced it is producing a stamp to commemorate Team GB’s first gold of London 2012. It will go on sale on Friday.
There was disappointment for Emma Pooley in the women’s 29km time trial. Both she and Lizzie Armitstead, who on Sunday claimed Britain’s first medal of the Games with silver in the road race, finished outside the top three.
The trial, which started and finished at Hampton Court Palace, was won by the reigning Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong of the US. Germany’s Judith Arndt finished second, with Russian Olga Zabelinskaya taking the bronze medal.
This evening at the Aquatics Centre, Michael Jamieson and Andrew Willis will be competing in the men’s 200m breast stroke.
Both stand a good chance of getting on to the podium after Jamieson qualified first in the semis and Willis came third. Jemma Lowe could also just snatch a medal in the women’s 200m butterfly final.
In gymnastics, Dan Purvis is in with a chance after finishing fourth at last year’s World Championships and qualifying fifth.