Commonwealth Games 2014: Jodie Stimpson clinches first gold for England as she wins women's triathlon
Vicky Holland comes home in third to win bronze as English dominate triathlon
Thursday 24 July 2014
Jodie Stimpson described missing out on the London Olympics as "the kick up the backside I needed" after winning the first gold medal of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
In a dream start to Team England's campaign, 25-year-old Stimpson sprinted to victory at Strathclyde Country Park while team-mate Vicky Holland took a surprise bronze behind Canada's Kirsten Sweetland.
Stimpson went into the race as the top-ranked athlete and justified that position with a commanding performance, pulling away from Sweetland over the closing 500 metres of the race.
It was all a far cry from 2012, when Stimpson was distraught at being left out of the Great Britain team for London, and was one of a number of critics of British Triathlon's domestique policy.
Holland and Lucy Hall, who finished 11th in Glasgow, were picked to support then world champion Helen Jenkins.
Stimpson said: "I didn't meet the criteria for London, so it wasn't my spot.
"Obviously, I was devastated to miss a home Olympics. But that gave me the kick up the backside that I needed.
"I changed coach and it did wonders. Me and Darren Smith have worked so hard ever since.
"It's absolutely fantastic. This medal is not just mine, it's for all my family and friends and Darren. Thank you so much. This medal is yours."
Jodie Stimpson at the transition from bike to run Stimpson credits linking up with renowned Australian coach Smith as the turning point in her career and her results have certainly taken off.
The plan of the England trio had been to make it a hard race over a tough course to try to avoid all the favourites still being there on the run.
Despite the absence of Welsh world champion Non Stanford and Jenkins through injury, it was still a strong field.
Coming out of the 1.5 kilometre swim in Strathclyde Loch, England held the first three positions but their rivals were all there too.
Hall briefly tried a breakaway on the 40km bike but was pulled back and a group of 10 began the 10km run together.
That quickly became six, with Stimpson, Sweetland and Australia's Emma Jackson pushing the pace while Holland, Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand and Northern Ireland's Aileen Reid stayed with them.
Reid was the first to crack at the end of the penultimate lap and a kick by Stimpson got rid of the dangerous Jackson and Hewitt - the bronze medallist in 2006.
Holland held on until around a kilometre to go, but by then she had already secured a medal.
Stimpson and Holland show off their gold and bronze medals respectively Stimpson, from Oldbury in the West Midlands, proved to be the strongest in the end and did not ease up until she had crossed the line
"I wouldn't say it was comfortable," she said with a chuckle. "I wanted to run out solid but everybody else was, too.
"I was not expecting that many to stay with us but when it's a big championships everybody leaves it all out there.
"It broke up on the last lap and I thought, 'Right, this is it, give it all you have got'. On the final downhill, it was a case of all or nothing. And it paid off."
Holland, from Gloucester, has never been on the podium in a world series race and declared it the best result of her career.
"I'm a bit overwhelmed but that was the top result I could have got," she said.
"I felt in control throughout the run and when my legs started to fail me with about a kilometre to go I must have turned around 15 times to check no-one was coming up behind me. It just felt the longest stretch of road in the world.
Stimpson revels in her Commonwealth Games triathlon victory "It feels very poetic to win the first medals of the Games. You dream about this, and to get a medal with Jodie makes it even more fantastic."
Hall, 22, is not a strong runner and was treated in the medical tent at the finish after appearing to overheat on the run.
The medals were England's first in triathlon at the Commonwealths and set the team up for a potential clean sweep of the golds ahead of the men's race on Thursday afternoon and the mixed relay on Saturday.
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