Wiggins Clinches Time Trial Gold; Becomes Most Decorated British Olympian
2012 London Summer Olympics
Britain's Bradley Wiggins came up with a superlative performance Wednesday on way to gold in the time trial event at the Olympic Games.
While Wiggins brought cheers to millions of his fans in medal-starved Britain, it also elevated him to the list of his country's greats as he overtook former rower Steve Redgrave's tally of six medals at the Olympics. With seven medals, four of them gold, Wiggins is now the most decorated Olympian in Britain, though some may contest it and say Redgrave is the greatest with five gold.
But with Wiggins showing no signs of slowing down -- his Tour de France victory and the London Olympic gold being testimony -- he could stake claim to more in the 2016 Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro.
Before Thursday triumph on the Hampton Court Palace course, all of Wiggins' six Olympic medals and six world crowns had come from the track, and the time trial gold will inspire him to aim for gold on the track as well. His three previous Olympic gold had come in the velodrome --- two individual pursuit gold (in 2004 and 2008) and team pursuit title in 2008.
At the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, he had won the team pursuit silver and a Madison bronze, while in his debut games at Sydney in 2000, he had clinched a team pursuit bronze.
This has been an extraordinary year for the Londoner after he had to quit the Tour de France last year following a broken collarbone. But the never-say-die spirit saw him come third at the Tour of Spain two months after the grievous injury.
The Olympic gold on Wednesday, the first by a British cyclist at the London Games, will prep up his former track team-mates as they go into the grueling six days of competition in the velodrome.
The champion was a cautious starter on the 44km course before he shifted gear to zoom ahead of the rest. Reigning world champion Tony Martin of Germany grabbed silver, finishing a good 42 seconds behind, while another Briton, Chris Froome claimed bronze, 68 seconds off the leader.
Overall, it was a great day for Great Britain as Helen Glover and Heather Stanning earned the country its first Games gold in rowing pairs.
At the same venue, but hours before Wiggins' triumph, Kristin Armstrong of the United States retained her Olympic time trial gold, covering the 29km course in 37:34.82 sec, pushing Germany's Judith Arndt to second spot.
Immediately after the triumph, the 38-year-old Armstrong, who had virtually quit the sport to start a family after the 2008 Beijing triumph, said she was finally retiring.
"I am now officially retired," Armstrong, now a mother of a two-year-old son, was quoted as telling the media. "I just needed to give it everything if I really wanted it."
Men's time trial:
1. Bradley Wiggins (Britain) 50:39.54 sec; 2. Tony Martin (Germany) 51:21.54; 3. Chris Froome (Britain) 51:47.87.
Women's time trial:
1. Kristin Armstrong (US) 37:34.82 sec; 2. Judith Arndt (Germany) 37:50.29; 3. Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia) 37:57.35.
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