GB's shining stars: the cyclist

Rebecca Romero

In 2005, having already won an Olympic silver medal in rowing and dogged by injury, Rebecca Romero toyed with the idea of a new way of life – something "exciting and challenging".

One option was using her diploma in marketing communications. The other was getting on her bike.

Accepting her second medal, this time gold, in the cycling pursuit yesterday, she made history as the first British woman to win medals in two Olympic sports. Romero is known as a tough competitor, but she was in tears as she realised the scale of her achievement.

Born in Surrey, Romero excelled at sport from the off and has been a full-time funded athlete since graduating from university with a degree in sports science.

She took up rowing after moving next to the Thames. She was tempted to join Twickenham Rowing Club but work on the bridge leading to it put her off. "I ended up going to Kingston Rowing Club to find out what the sport was about. Looking back I feel that it must have been fate for I didn't know at the time I was walking into one of the most successful women's rowing clubs with one of the best junior coaches in the country."

Romero, 28, only took up cycling after the sport's governing body approached her. She had never thought of herself as being particularly good on two wheels.

She successfully completed the testing procedure but only started her Olympic training two years ago, when the sport's bosses realised how gifted she was.

Those that watched her could not believe how much pain she was prepared to suffer to achieve her goal. One described it as "scary".

But incredibly, she considers herself lazy."I always think I'm not tough enough, not hard enough, not disciplined enough."

Her exploits on land and water will see her held up as a role model for future Team GB champions.

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