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."

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'