Allen leaves it late for gold

Kate Allen, an Australian-born triathlete who switched citizenship two years ago, won Austria its first gold medal of these Games in spectacular fashion here yesterday.

Kate Allen, an Australian-born triathlete who switched citizenship two years ago, won Austria its first gold medal of these Games in spectacular fashion here yesterday.

After a slow 1.5 kilometres open-water swim and a decent 40km bike ride, the 34-year-old produced a stunning 10km run to take the lead for the first time inside the final 200 metres of a two-hour, 51.5km slog over a hilly and testing course.

As the long-time leader, Australia's Loretta Harrop, looked on - shattered and in disbelief - Allen eased past to the line as if she had been on a fun run instead of competing in one of the Games' toughest assignments.

Allen's winning time, in a race where Britain's Michelle Dillon finished sixth but her compatriot, Jodie Swallow, faded badly after a bright start, was 2hr 4min 43.45sec. Harrop, despite being overtaken so close to the line, traipsed in 6.72sec later. America's Susan Williams took the bronze in 2hr 5min 8.92sec.

For much of the cycling leg, the only relevant question seemed to be which of two competitors, Harrop or America's Sheila Taormina, would take gold, and which of two other Americans, Williams or Barbara Lindquist, would win their personal battle for bronze.

The main issue seemed settled when Harrop, who won silver at this year's world championships, bravely broke away on the run. Despite the sapping heat, she left the other three in her wake.

But Allen, who had finished the swim in 44th place out of 50 competitors, and was joint 10th after the cycling, was quietly purring through the field.

"I was hoping to run into a top-five position," she said. "But then my husband [who was standing at the side of the road] said, 'Do you know you are running for silver?'

"I had no idea, to run into gold was amazing. It was only in the last 200 metres I saw it was possible. Loretta looked back and saw me but didn't increase her speed. It was the best feeling of my career."

Allen's run was clocked at 34min 13sec, more than a minute quicker than her closest rival on that section, Italy's Nadia Cortassa, who came fifth overall.

Allen became an Austrian citizen in 2002 and was then asked by the Austrian authorities, rather than vice versa, whether she would represent them here.

"I had some pretty good results last year and was able to qualify," she said after yesterday's historic win, which was immediately hailed by Austria's chancellor, Wolfgang Schuessel, as "a tremendous success... In the name of all Austrians I heartily congratulate her."

Swallow, eighth after the swim but 34th at the end, said: "It was pretty awful and I feel absolutely awful for various reasons, but all credit to myself - I toughed it out." Dillon, a former 10,000m runner for Australia, said: "I'm pleased. I ran really strongly towards the end. I thought I had a reasonable swim. The only thing was people were pulling my zipper down in the swim, obviously trying to pull me back. I couldn't believe people were actually doing that."

Arts & Entertainment
tvGrace Dent on TV
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Life & Style
The exterior of a central London Angus Steakhouse
food + drink
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives in the rain during the qualifying session of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai
sport
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Arts & Entertainment
filmLife for Leslie Mann's can be challenging sometimes
Voices
For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'
voices...but don't forget rest of the year
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit