London 2012: Britain hails record Olympic gold tally

 
Chris Hoy celebrates Sir Chris Hoy said his sixth Olympic victory was 'the perfect end to my Olympic career'

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Britain is celebrating Team GB's success after its athletes achieved their best gold medal haul since the 1908 Olympics.

Sir Chris Hoy won his sixth Olympic gold medal with victory in the keirin to take GB's gold medal tally to 22.

Prime Minister David Cameron described the successes as "a golden summer" for the team and the country.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said he hoped athletes' efforts to "bring home the bling" were not over yet.

Among the medal-winning athletes were cyclist Laura Trott, who won her second Olympic gold, and Britain's equestrians in the team dressage event.

Triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee won gold and bronze respectively in front of a huge crowd at Hyde Park.

Mr Johnson offered "fulsome congratulations" to Team GB and said: "Our athletes' efforts to bring home the bling have delivered a tally not seen by any British team in over three generations.

"But it's not over yet. I join the nation in its hope that Team GB is set to deliver more sporting brilliance."

Sir Chris's victory in the sprint event means he has overtaken Sir Steve Redgrave as the athlete with the highest ever number of GB Olympic gold medals.

At the scene

Tears of joy were shed in the Velodrome this evening. Not least by Sir Chris Hoy. But cycling fans, Olympic volunteers and even dewy-eyed Scottish police officers joined him in wiping away a tear after witnessing his gold medal win.

It was speed-enhancing hot in the cycling venue, but as people spilled out in to the Park and the drizzle, they laughed that their spirits weren't dampened. Everyone was smiling. Most had a union jack somewhere about them - flag, hat, bag, leggings, stick-on tattoo.

The live screens and parklands were packed to watch Laura Trott, Victoria Pendleton and Hoy race. Even the walkways were full.

Some had come across the city from watching the triathlon in Hyde Park this morning, thrilled to see Britain win four golds today.

"My concern before the Games started was how much pressure we were putting on our athletes," says Tara Smith, "but I knew they had it in them."

The pair hugged at the side of the track, before the ceremony where Sir Chris tearfully accepted his medal.

Peter Keen, elite performance director for UK Sport, said the success in the velodrome was the result of years of hard work: "It's the stuff of dreams. But also it encapsulates the story that's led to London 2012, which is more than a decade now of building and planning and training."

Also during the day, Nick Dempsey won a silver medal in windsurfing, while cyclist Victoria Pendleton took silver in the sprint, and Robbie Grabarz won a bronze medal in the men's high jump.

Team GB are third in the medal table - behind China and the United States - with 22 gold, 13 silver and 13 bronze. The tally of 48 medals, with five days of competition remaining, is above the haul from Beijing.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "This has really turned into a golden summer for Team GB and for the whole of the UK."

Later he tweeted: "Victoria Pendleton's final race made us all proud...as did Chris Hoy and Laura Trott's spectacular Golds."

'Stepping up'

Sir Chris described his second gold of the London Games as "the perfect end to my Olympic career".

"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.

"I'm 99.9% sure I won't be competing in Rio - how can you top this?" he added.

Olympics coverage online

Olympics images

After victory in the omnium, 20-year-old Trott told the BBC: "I'm peaking at the right time and it's all thanks to the coaches really, and the support of the crowd."

Pendleton - already a double Olympic gold medallist - could not claim a final victory in her last race before retiring from the sport.

She lost out in the sprint to long-term rival, Australian Anna Meares, who she described as a "fantastic competitor".

In equestrian sports, the trio of Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin secured Britain's first ever medal in the dressage grand prix special, the team event.

Speaking afterwards, Hester said: "It's a combination of so many years of dreaming about it and it finally happening. Those girls are cool customers and Charlotte is unbelievable for the amount of time she's been riding."

Earlier, the triathlon medal ceremony was delayed after bronze-medallist Jonny Brownlee collapsed after the finish.

The Brownlee brothers hug afterwards The Brownlee brothers were watched by a crowd of thousands

His brother Alistair said: "That race was just unbelievable. I felt kind of in control right from the start and the crowds... I don't think I've ever come across anything near like that, and probably never will again.

"My ears are still ringing from all that noise and it was absolutely amazing."

The brothers' mother, Cath, said: "It's very unreal. You don't think that those boys running through that line and winning those medals are your sons."

With Team GB's success continuing, demand for any remaining Olympic tickets remains high.

Lord Coe, chairman of Games organisers Locog, said there were no problems with the ticketing website breaking down.

"The website's not crashing... it's just the demand for tickets," he told the BBC.

He added that about two million people at any one time are trying to buy tickets, but only a few thousand each day were able to be released.

Lord Coe also said it was acceptable for rock music to be played during some track events, in a bid to attract a younger audience to watch athletics.

In other developments:

 

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  • rate this
    +15

    Comment number 437.

    Thank you Team GB, you are being wonderful! I love the attitude: confidence without arrogance.
    Thank you Lococ: virtually no organisational problems.
    Thank you military/police: no terrorism.
    And... thank you BBC: superb coverage.

  • rate this
    -13

    Comment number 411.

    the hysteria about the Games sickens me. The individual accomplishments are amazing, but the claims that people not interested in the Olympics and not manicly waving union jacks to support "our boys and girls" is absurd.
    Patriotism is about more than supporting a winning team that happens to be named after your country.

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 339.

    Is it just me or has this been possibly the greatest games there has ever been? The atmosphere, crowds and wonderful backdrop, not to mention the sporting achievements.

    Maybe I'm biased (being British and a Londoner)?

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 338.

    I didn't put in for tickets as I normally can't stand athletics etc. but there has been so much on that isn't the stuff that is normally shown on tv that I've got quite interested. It's also a great excuse for watching the screen at work - it's not showing work-related things! I also thought much of it was a probable waster of money - but not now!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 333.

    While congratulating the Medal winners so far. I am also looking forward to the Paralymipcs as well. I hope there'll be as much coverage for that as there has been for the Olympics!

 

Comments 5 of 19

 

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