- 17 Aug 08, 02:37 PM
Chris Hoy's story is remarkable enough - taking gold in a completely new discipline after having his favoured event taken off the Olympic schedule.
But at least that was still in the same sport.
Rebecca Romero's achievement in winning individual pursuit gold four years after taking silver in the quad sculls, and only two years after first cycling round a track, must rank as one of the more remarkable stories in British sporting history.
Only one other woman has ever won Olympic medals in two completely different sports, East Germany's Roswitha Krause - and both of hers came as part of a team, a handball silver in 1976 following a freestyle relay silver in 1968.
Then again, Romero is a remarkable woman.
"It was her absolute need to win a gold medal and her commitment to the process that stood out," he says.
"It's the difference between wanting success and needing it. Rebecca needs it.
"There was only a tenth of a second between her and Wendy (Houvenaghel) coming into this final, but it was hard to bet against Rebecca because of her sheer need."
As the two Britons lined up on opposite sides of the wooden track, the tension was far more visible on Romero's face than her team-mate's.
First she sat down on the banked track, her legs flopped out in front of her, as the seconds ticked down to the gun.
Then, when she climbed on board her bike, she licked her lips and grimaced like someone eating stinging-nettles.
"I said to Victoria Pendleton - this feels like my worst nightmare," she admitted afterwards. "I felt like I'd been wrongly accused of murder and was about to find out if I was freed for the rest of my life - freed from the demons."
Romero's obsession with winning gold was so intense that it often threatened to overwhelm her.
"I've never seen anyone who can damage themselves so much in training," says Boardman.
"It's her biggest problem, and a common mistake to make - to think that if you do more training it'll make you better.
"It might not. While one vitamin C tablet is good for you, 10 give you an ulcer. You always have to be mindful of that.
"The last week has been a rather shaky time for her - she slightly over-cooked it in training.
"They took some drastic action a week ago and took her completely out of training. All she's been doing for the last week is a little rolling on the roads.
"Luckily, she trusts her coach Dan Hunt implicitly, and if he can describe to her how resting is going to improve her performance, then she'll rest.
"She hates it, but she'll do it."
As she powered out of the starting-gate and fought her way up to top speed, Romero was almost roaring with the effort.
With four of the 12 laps gone, she was already a second up on Houvenaghel. With four to go the gap had doubled.
When she flashed across the line, lips stretched back, teeth gritted, she seemed to have no idea how clear-cut her victory was.
Only when she had stared at the scoreboard for almost a full lap did she start to celebrate - waggling a finger skywards like Mick Jagger and snatching a Union flag off a bunch of cavorting British fans perched above the back straight.
"It's been so hard I can't explain," she panted afterwards. "I was facing my demons, but I knew I had it in me.
"To have become an Olympic champion, to have medals in two sports - I'm so proud of myself."
There's been almost no point in detaching the British flag from the highest pole. In the five medal ceremonies so far, British riders have waved from atop the podium in four of them.
When Romero took her turn, still wearing her racing cleats and space-age skinsuit, she looked determined not to blub.
There was much biting of lip as the flag was slowly raised roofwards, much twitching of the nose.
Eventually, as the anthem reached its sluggish crescendo, the waterworks started.
"I was never really good at any sports," she said later. "I never really thought I was good at riding bikes. It's just hard work.
"I wanted a gold. I wanted to be a champion. Now I've put down my mark to be remembered."
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