The few days of the London 2012 Games has seen Great Britain snatch their first three medals courtesy of the Lizzie Armitstead, Rebecca Adlington and men’s gymnastics squad, with a disappointing campaign for road cyclist Mark Cavendish.
Lizzie Armitstead and Rebecca Adlington provided hope for the GB team after show stopping performances saw them receive a silver and bronze on Sunday afternoon. Armitstead battled the torrential rain in Surrey and South West London to finish the 140km women’s road race behind favourite Marianne Vos. A breakaway group led by Russian, Zabelinskaya at 25km left sprinters Vos and Armitstead battling for the line in the spectator packed Mall.
Beijing Gold medallist in the 400m freestyle, Rebecca Adlington took to the pool with the pressure of the Great British public on her. Finishing slowest of the qualifiers and in lane 8 the task proved too great to capture to top of the podium, but proved to be a triumphant return to the Olympic pool. Adlington will now go for her second medal in the 800m freestyle on Thursday and Friday evening.
Team GB also made history with the first gymnastics squad to medal since 1912, but not without controversy. The combination of Louis Smith, Sam Oldham, Kristian Thomas, Max Whitlock and Dan Purvis were originally awarded a silver medal, after Japanese competitor, Uchimura, was deducted points for his dismount off the pommel horse. After a successful appeal by the Japanese team to increase the score by 0.70, it pushed GB into the bronze medal position, a feat that no GB team has come close to in previous years.
Elsewhere, Mark Cavendish failed to live up to the speculation in the Men’s road race, which saw the Great British ‘Dream team’, left the pull the peloton around the 250km course. Cavendish a sprint specialist was unable to reel in the breakaway pack of 22 riders after losing them at Box Hill, and had to settle for 29th place after winning the World Championships last year. Tour de France winner, Bradley Wiggins provided as much support as he could before winding down before his time trial races at Hampton Court on Wednesday.
LOCOG faced some controversy over the opening weekend regarding the amount of empty seats after so many failed to purchase tickets in the ballot. The best seats at Wimbledon and the swimming pool were left empty, after members of the ‘Olympic family’ failed to show up for preliminary heats. The issue has been promised to be resolved through the release of tickets prior to the day’s events.
Beth Tweddle also qualified top for the uneven bars final, after scoring a magnificent 16.133. Tweddle is yet to medal at the Olympic Games and will be making a stake for the title on Monday in the North Greenwich arena. The Great Britain men’s and women’s football teams were in action over the opening weekend, winning games against the UAE and the women progressing to the quarter finals.
Katherine Grainger found herself breaking the Olympic record for the double scull during qualifying for the final with partner, Anna Watkins. The pair has failed in their bid for Olympic gold in previous games and after becoming World Champions look firm favourites to take the title. Elsewhere the GB Men’s 8’s have qualified ahead of Canada for Wednesday’s final.
Tom Daley and Paul Waterfield also took to the 10m board on Monday afternoon, which saw the popular teen and his partner trail China, USA and Mexico. The pair had shown perfect synchronisation over the first three dives, placing them at the top of the leader board only to lose their cool in rounds four and five. Daley will now begin his individual campaign on 31st July.
The disappointing news also broke that Paula Radcliffe would not be competing in next weekends marathon after being declared unfit with an osteoarthritis problem. The 37 year old Loughborough graduate who has never won an Olympic medal, steps aside for Freya Murray.