A 15-strong Loughborough contingent at the London 2012 Paralympic Games bring home an impressive six medals, with a stunning gold from Richard Whitehead, three silver and two bronze medals.
Richard Whitehead will be remembered for one of the most outstanding victories of the games in the men's T42 200m, coming through the field to finish 20m clear despite a slow start due to his running style, to take gold in a world record time of 24.38 seconds! Whitehead, who has also competed in cricket, swimming and sledge hockey at international level, is originally a marathon runner with a sub-four hour time but has converted successfully into the sprint format.
Three silver medals come Loughborough-bound after deserving performances from the trio of Stef Reid, Dan Greaves and Libby Clegg:
Reid set a new Paralympic record for the T44 disability classification in the women's T42/44 long jump, leaping out to 5.28m. This converted to a score of 1023 points, just seven points behind the eventual gold medalist, Kelly Cartwright of Australia. Dan Greaves threw a season's best of 59.01m in the men's F44 discus final to claim silver for Team GB. And Libby Clegg, the former Loughborough College student, took silver in the women's T12 100m, just minutes after her brother James took a bronze at the Aquatics Centre!
Bronze medals came in the form of Claire Williams, who claimed third behind the Chinese favourites in the women's T11/12 discus with a throw of 39.63m. Aaron McKibbin who, despite not playing a game in the final of the men's 6-8 team table tennis class competition, celebrated with his team after taking a straight match victory over Germany to win Loughborough’s second bronze medal.
With six medals in the bag, Loughborough athletes at the London 2012 Paralympics did what our able-bodied athletes couldn't, and finished higher than Bath (would have if we were countries in our own right) in the overall medal table, despite finishing with eight fewer medals than our fierce rivals: Loughborough would finish in 45th place ahead of the likes of Denmark and Jamaica, whilst Bath finish down in 58th position with their seven silver and seven bronze medals.
A highly successful Paralympic Games for Team GB, who finished third overall behind Russia and China, and Loughborough who can proudly add the four bronze medals from the able-bodied games to our Paralympic total for London 2012!
Praise is given where praise is due, so a huge congratulations from Label to Kieran Tscherniawsky, Dan West, Jonathan Adams, David Phillipson and Hannah Stodel who made it to the finals and narrowly missed out on medals in their respective events. And more congratulations also to Emma Hollis and Sam Ruddock making their debuts at the games, as well as our four wheelchair basketball girls; Natasha Davies, Judith Hamer, Laurie Williams and Clare Strange, who finished in seventh place overall.
The London 2012 motto is to "inspire a generation," and I believe we have not just done that, but inspired the world as well with LOCOG confirming huge rises in sports sign-ups and participation, both for disabled and able-bodied athletes. The games has certainly showcased what Great Britain is capable of doing as a country and a sporting nation, finishing third in both London 2012 medal tables.
The Closing Ceremony is always a heartfelt moment, especially for a home Olympics, but all will take a smile to Rio in 2016, knowing Great Britain have the prowess to bring home more medals in four years time…
What were your favourite moments from London 2012? What inspiration have you taken from the games? Comment below or Tweet to us by following @labelonline on Twitter