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
    0

    Comment number 543.

    Sorry, how is this going to improve the quality of life in the UK? By next Monday morning the event will be over, the BBC News Channel will have been abolished (3/4 of its time is currently spent on the Olympics so it will not be needed) and so we will move on with the same problems, the same poor management etc. 2 weeks of hype, no lasting source of improvement, apart from a few medal holders.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 542.

    re my 540, what i meant was not judging the athletes, rather our desire to comment on the affairs of our own and other countries, the olympics has been a welcome distraction from all the corruption, death and misery going on around us

  • Comment number 541.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 540.

    with everything that is wrong in the world today, it is nice to genuine joy, happiness and unity expressed at the games, time enough for us to judge nations and individuals after the event is over, until then folks , enjoy the ride !!!!, by the way i am so looking forward to the paralympics, those guys and gals have spirit and determination on a different level, cant wait.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 539.

    took a while for me to warm to the olympics, then seeing all those beautiful exemplars of phisical and mental health enjoying their skill craft and hard work opened my heart to appreciate their hard work and dedication to achieving their best form and presenting it for us lesser mortals to observe, empathise with, feel their greatness is beyond words. thank you olympians for an excellent show.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 538.

    Great performance by team GB and more to come they have put a smile on us ordinary folks faces in difficult times more than the bankers, polticians etc have done. Sick of the moaners coming on here lets just mock them they are like the zombies of death. As for not doing aswell in future the aussies increased there medal count at the 2004 games from Syndney.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 537.

    535 FO-AD (your name without hyphen was rejected as a 'profanity'!) A nation inspired and uplifted - invaluable, you can't put a price on that. One survey I saw (don't know which) said 90% of the population were thoroughly positive and enjoying the once in a lifetime party, even most of the cynics and grumblies who said they were anti-London 2012 beforehand!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 536.

    as a converted cynic of the games i am thoroughly enjoy this sporting spectacle. the success of team GB adds to this pleasure , for those who are still griping about it, change channel, you should have at least 40 others to choose from.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 535.

    Does anyone feel we've had £9 Billion worth?

    Up for yes, down for no.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 534.

    Undoubtedly, this is an unforgettable Games! Iconic venues, regenerated park, and wall-to-wall coverage 24/7. Well Done Auntie Beeb! You put NBC to shame without their budget or staff! It has been absorbing & exhilarating in breathless & unbelievable days of sport! The stories that spring forth. Heady days at 3rd in the medal table (behind the Superpower duel) & Nasa successfully landed on Mars!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 533.

    525. penguin337
    We are unlikely to see another performance like this repeated in our lifetimes so lap it up
    //////
    Why? We did brilliantly at Beijing and in comparison "only" slightly better now. Sports in Britain is in the ascendency. Maybe Seb Coe should be PM, he obviously knows what he's doing much better than Cameron does.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 532.

    528 Ron - duh, wot the ell are you bleating on about now? because the only point you're actually putting across clearly is that you must lead a somewhat sad life with your evident need to get kicks out of trolling on a messageboard.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 531.

    Well done Team GB. I'm not a very big sports fan but I've been glued to my screen watching a whole host of Olympic sports. I'm genuinely impressed with how well team GB have done.

    Especially well done to Sir Chris Hoy for his gold in the cycling.

  • Comment number 530.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 529.

    as far as im aware its only the bbc that is covering the olympics, so to those of you complaining about the coverage, may i suggest you watch another channel then you wont have to suffer. but there again if you did that you d have nothing to complain about. Well Done team GB, another brilliant day, Well Done BBC on the coverage !

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 528.

    521 Tractor22
    You are well stuck in the mud of your own making. Go back to sleep,

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 527.

    Come on how could the Equestrians fail ? How many countries compete in this stuck up upper-class event to start with - and if they do how many had to send their horses half way round the world to compete ?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 526.

    517. No more
    It's like expecting Jamaica to win the bob sleigh race. (I'm sure someone did a film about that).
    //////
    I admire your compassion, but you should be grateful you can post on a site that most poorer countries can't even log on to. It's like expecting someone like you to do something exceptional. ( I am sure Forrest Gump is about that).

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 525.

    Home Team advantage, like with the 1966 World Cup

    Highly enjoyable too, so it is

    We are unlikely to see another performance like this repeated in our lifetimes so lap it up

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 524.

    £8000 per second for every second of every day since it started...

    I'm sure its worth the £6Bn so far. Really, I am. Honest.

 

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