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i Editor's Letter: Extraordinary medals

 

Phew! Another day, another display of extraordinary sporting achievement, with boxer Nicola Adams and rider Charlotte Dujardin taking Team GB's gold medal haul to 24.

As the M&S ad likes to say, these were not just gold medals, these were historic gold medals. Adams' gold represented the first-ever Olympic women's boxing title. And Dujardin's gold – and the bronze won by her team-mate, Laura Bechtolsheimer – are the first individual dressage medals ever won by British competitors.

Indeed, Dujardin is only the fourth British female athlete to win double gold at one Games, following in the footsteps of Dame Kelly Holmes, Rebecca Adlington and Laura Trott.

At first glance, the two women seem very different – one in her smart jacket and white breeches, the other in a gumshield and headguard. Enfield-born Dujardin left school at 16, while Adams, from Leeds, has a college education. And while the sight of two people slugging it out in the ring is a familiar one to most people, dressage is a much more esoteric affair – designed to develop the horse's natural athletic ability and requiring hours and hours of intensive training.

But dig a little deeper, and they have more in common than you might think. Both began competing in their chosen sport at 13. Both have had huge support from their mothers. A glance at both their CVs reveals a solid record of dedication and hard work. Both are smiling and composed in the face of huge pressure.

Nicola and Charlotte, you're both a knock-out.

Stefano Hatfield is away

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