The West Country delivered Team GB’s first gold medal of the London 2012 Olympic Games, with Bath-based rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning hoping their win will inspire others to take on the sport.
The pair opened Team GB’s gold medal count in the women’s pair at Eton-Dorney yesterday and with that victory wrote themselves into the history books as Britain’s first female Olympic gold medallists in the sport.
As the country held its collective breath, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning – who both learned to row in Bath and came through the START development scheme in the city – went into an early lead and were never seriously challenged as the won by yards.
“I think I was slightly aware but it was not until we crossed the line that I realise just how big the expectations were” said PE Teachers Glover.
“Hopefully it’ s a sign of things to come across Team GB. Let’s go for it, let’s make it our Games. I’d also like to think this will inspire more people to be active and enjoy sport, and an inspiration for PE Teachers, too.”
Meanwhile, Yeovil-born Stanning added: “I couldn’t hear what Helen was saying, I couldn’t see the bubble line and all I could hear was the crowd cheering. It was such fantastic support. We’re delighted, it’s brilliant.”
The win preceded Team GB’s second gold, won by cycling superman Bradley Wiggins. Meanwhile, Bath-based Michael Jamieson won silver for Britain in the 200m breaststroke final yesterday evening and smash his own British record.
Only a new world record from Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta could deny the 23-year-old gold, while Japan’s Ryo Tateishi took bronze.
Jamieson, in his debut Olympics, came charging down the final 50m to deafening noise in the Aquatics Centre and closed right up on Gyurta.
But the 2011 world champion held on to touch in 2 mins 07.28 secs, just 15 hundredths of a second ahead of the fast-finishing Glaswegian and clear of Tateishi’s 2:08.29.