Cyclist Sir Chris Hoy became Britain’s most decorated Olympian on Tuesday after retaining his title in the men’s Keirin. It was one of four gold medals on the day for the host nation, who have now reached their best haul since topping the medals table in 1908 when the Games were first held in the British capital.
Having qualified for the final almost unchallenged Hoy was pushed all the way by silver medallist Maximilian Levy of Germany when the British track legend, who is expected to retire after the Games, stepped on the gas two laps from the finish.
Levy gained a slight advantage on the outside on the final bend but Hoy powered the pedals to eventually cross the line first and claim his sixth career gold medal and second of London 2012.
With seven medals in total – he also won a silver in the team sprint in Sydney 2000 – he is now ahead of Tour de France champion and compatriot Bradley Wiggins on ‘gold difference’. His victory also meant the Olympic host nation matched their Beijing record of seven track titles in cycling.
In a rare ending just behind New Zealand’s Simon van Velthooven and Dutchman Teun Mulder both took bronze after a photo finish could not separate them. It is the first time in Olympic history that four medals were awarded in a single cycling event.
Australia’s Anna Meares beat British arch rival and defending Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton to win the women’s track sprint title.
In a thrilling first race Pendleton held off the challenge of her Australian rival but only just – on the final corner heading to the line Meares drew level and almost drew first blood but Pendleton crossed the line one thousandth of a second in front. However that result was not to stand when moments later officials relegated Pendleton for coming out of her sprinting lane on the finishing straight giving the first win to Meares.
In the second, instead of the usual cat-and-mouse tactics Pendleton blasted out of the blocks to the surprise of everyone in the Arena. All except Meares who remained on her back wheel all the way.
On the final turn the Australian easily overtook the home hope to claim her second career gold after also winning the time trial title in Athens eight years ago. A tearful Pendleton, who had already won gold in the Keirin, took silver in what was the final race of her career.
HOT TO TROTT
A gold did go Britain’s way earlier on the track when Laura Trott claimed her second gold of the Olympics with a surprise victory in the women’s omnium – a six discipline two-day event.
Trott beat Sarah Hammer of the United States to the title in a thrilling time-trial finale. With the American two points ahead as they entered the last of the omnium’s six events, 20-year-old Trott needed to finish at least three places better than her rival trial to guarantee the title – and she did exactly that. She powered home to complete the 500m race in 35.11 seconds, with Hammer fourth on 35.9.
Trott’s victory in the final race put her one point ahead of the American to snatch the gold, her second in London after winning the team pursuit in world record time with Dani King and Joanna Rowsell.
Australia’s Annette Edmondson, who won the 10 kilometre scratch race earlier on Tuesday, took the bronze.
The Brownlee brothers became the first siblings to feature on the Olympic podium together in an individual event in more than 50 years, after the British pair won gold and bronze in the men’s triathlon.
Alistair Brownlee took gold while younger brother Jonathan came home third behind former world champion Javier Gomez of Spain despite incurring a 15 second penalty.
The medal ceremony was delayed for more than 30 minutes as Jonathan received lengthy medical treatment after collapsing with exhaustion.
First out of the water following the 1.5 kilometre swim in the Serpentine was Gomez, Spain’s 2008 and 2010 world champion. But both Brownlees were in the mix with two others.
But as the five-man leading group exited the first changeover Jonathan Brownlee was judged to have mounted his bike too soon, incurring a harsh 15-second penalty – a penalty the athlete can take anywhere during the race.
Halfway though the 43 kilometre bike race a 17-strong chasing group joined the front runners. But it was Gomez again who led them all into the second and last transition. The competitors then donned their running shoes and began the final 10 kilometre run around Hyde Park.
Gomez and the Brownlee brothers set a blistering pace on the run featuring four loops around the iconic Hyde Park as the rest of the field struggled to keep up. Jonathan Brownlee then fell by the wayside as his older brother and Gomez went for gold.
With Frenchmen David Hauss and Laurent Vidal in hot pursuit of the bronze Jonathan decided to take his 15 second penalty which forces the athlete to stop racing for that amount of time.
With one lap of the race to go it turned out to be a nervous wait but having completed his stop and go penalty Jonathan started again 12 seconds clear of his rivals and held on for bronze.
His stop-start effort came at a price after the race when exhaustion took its toll and he required medical attention including an IV drip in the medical tent.
Alistair – a two time world champion – made his move against Gomez within the final lap and didn’t look back. With a Union Flag draped over his shoulders he crossed the line in a winning time of one hour 46 minutes and 25 seconds.
TEAM GB BREAKGERMANSTRONGLEHOLD
Team GB continued their fantastic showing in the equestrian competition.
After capturing its first show jumping gold for 60 years and taking a silver in eventing the host nation won gold in the Team dressage ending a 40-year winning streak for the Germans.
It is the first Olympic dressage medal of any colour for Britain, team or individual.
The team consisted of Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin and following record scores from Hester and Dujardin for their grand prix special tests Britain finished the second phase of the competition on a total average score of 79.979 percent. Germany were a distant second on 78.216 percent for silver while The Netherlands took bronze.
Sally Pearson won gold in the women’s 100m hurdles in a new Olympic record time on Tuesday handing Australia their first gold medal in Athletics in London.
The world champion, who has dominated the sport for the last two years led from the start and beat American pair Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells into silver and bronze.
Robert Harting handed Germany their first athletics gold since the Sydney games in 200 after winning the men’s discus title.
Iran’s Ehsan Hadadi won the silver while defending Olympic champion from Beijing Estonia’s Gerd Kanter had to settle for the bronze. Harting won with his penultimate throw of 68.27 metres.
Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi won the men’s 1,500 metres gold, a day after being thrown out of the event for not trying in his 800 metres heat then reinstated when a doctor said he had actually dropped out because of injury. American Leonel Manzano finished strongly to take silver ahead of Moroccan Abdalaati Iguider in bronze.
Russia’s Ivan Ukhov won gold in the men’s high jump. The former World and European indoor champion topped the podium with a leap of 2.38 metres.
Erik Kynard of the United States won the silver while Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim, Canada’s Derek Drouin and Britain’s Robert Grabarz each won bronze after being tied for third.
FINALFAREWELL TO RS:X
In front of a cheering home crowd Britain’s 2004 bronze medallist Nick Dempsey took silver in the men’s RS:X windsurfing competition in the event’s final appearance at the Olympics.
Dutchman Dorian van Rijsselberghe was crowned champion while Poland’s veteran Olympic board campaigner Przemyslaw Miarczynski won bronze. Spain’s Marina Alabau won the women’s discipline. Finland’s Tuuli Petaejae won the silver and Poland’s Zofia Noceti-Klepacka the bronze.