Yorkshire riding high on Olympic medal table

By Alex Moss
BBC News, Yorkshire

image captionSheffield City Council is to consult with Jessica Ennis on how to best permanently mark her Olympic gold medal-winning efforts

Yorkshire pride is riding high, with the region's athletes striking gold in the Olympics.

Five Yorkshire competitors, including Sheffield's heptathlete Jessica Ennis, have so far won their events in London 2012.

Team GB are currently ranked third in the medal table, with 24 gold medals.

But achievements of the region's competitors have prompted a comparison of where Yorkshire would feature in the table if it was a country.

Yorkshire Radio reporter Jonathan Buchan kick-started the comparison on Twitter on Saturday ahead of Ennis's victory.

In a tweet, which has since been re-tweeted more than 3,000 times, he said: "If #Yorkshire was a country it would currently be 11th in the medal table above the likes of Japan, South Africa and Australia! #teamgb."

With a tally that has reached five golds, two silvers and three bronzes, Yorkshire currently stands 13th on the alternative table - above Japan and below the Netherlands.

Along with 26-year-old Ennis's victory, cyclist Ed Clancy, 27, from Huddersfield, won gold in the men's team pursuit. He also took bronze in the omnium.

Andrew Triggs-Hodge, 33, a rower raised in Hebden, North Yorkshire, was in Great Britain's gold-winning men's coxless fours crew.

Alistair Brownlee, 24, won the the men's triathlon followed by his brother Jonny, 22, in third place. Both men are from Leeds.

The latest winner is Nicola Adams, from Leeds, who became the first woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal.

Lizzie Armitstead, from Otley, won Team GB's first medal of the Olympics, taking silver in the women's road race.

Her medal achievement was followed by Nicola Wilson, from Northallerton, North Yorkshire, who won silver in the team eventing competition.

'Yorkshire grit'

Former cricket umpire Dickie Bird, from Barnsley, said the realisation that Yorkshire was doing so well in the medal table was a tribute to the region's "absolutely brilliant" athletes.

He said: "The Yorkshire competitors have done absolutely brilliant.

"Yorkshire folk are wonderful, wonderful people known for their hard work and sheer Yorkshire grit which has pulled them through."

image captionEd Clancy has won gold and bronze in cycling

Ennis's javelin coach Mick Hill said he was not surprised by the region's medal success.

"There must be something in the water, that and the Yorkshire pride."

The former GB international said: "We're very competitive up here. We push ourselves really hard and then there's all that fresh air and maybe it's the Yorkshire bitter too."

Mr Hill said Yorkshire's facilities and coaching staff were always going to breed success for its Olympic competitors.

"We have a great base to nurture people.

"We can cater for any sport too and that's one of the reasons why we're doing so well."

Lorenzo Clark, from Sheffield International Venues, responsible for venues where the region's top athletes train, said Yorkshire had a legacy of producing world-class athletes.

"We've got a fantastic history of people who have done amazing at sport, Michael Vaughan, Seb Coe, Adrian Moorhouse to mention a few.

"People involved in sport in this region really want to make a difference and I think that's been a huge factor in the Olympic success."

He added: "Jess is a fantastic ambassador for us. She's a real down to earth girl who has always stayed loyal to Sheffield.

"One of the great things about her is that she trains at our venues and out of the thousands of children we've had down for sports days, 60% of them will have seen her.

"It doesn't surprise me in the least that Yorkshire is doing so well and I think these inspirational characters will drive grass roots sport and our hope of finding our future athletes."

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