Day 15: Tom Daley beats nerves to win bronze
Plymouth diver's only regret is that his father did not live to see it
Sunday 12 August 2012
Fans' favourite Tom Daley, one of the faces of Team GB, dived his way to a bronze medal last night in a contest from the 10-metre high board that went to the wire.
The 18-year-old said afterwards that his only regret was that his biggest fan, his father Rob, who died from cancer last year, could not be there to see him on the podium. "He would have been proud of me," he said, "This has been the toughest year of my life. It was a shame he wasn't here to see this. The medal means so much to me. I just can't believe it."
Daley scraped through the qualification stages but suddenly banished his nerves in the final to force his way into the lead at the start of the sixth and last round of dives. It was an improbable position after controversy surrounded his first dive. Judges upheld his complaint that he had been unfairly distracted by a rash of camera-flash bulbs from the 17,500 audience inside the Aquatics Centre and ordered a re-dive, permitting him a crucial chance to stay in contention with his rivals. US diver David Boudia and Chinese World Champion Qui Bo overhauled Daley's slender lead to take gold and silver. Despite this, Daley's delight was undimmed. "I gave it my best shot, I gave it absolutely everything," he said. "I was in the first place going into the last round but didn't have the degree of difficulty I needed. The main aim was to get a medal."
Campbell boxes clever in gold-winning final
Luke Campbell struck gold for Britain in the boxing ring last night when he triumphed in the bantamweight final over the Irish fighter John Joe Nevin. Campbell, 24, won a points decision 14-11 after a fiercely fought contest. The Hull boxer finally won a close fight when he forced the Republic of Ireland boxer to take a standing count after knocking him down in the third and final round.
After his victory, Campbell said: "I'm very emotional right now. The plan was to stay calm and stick to the boxing and throw my punches down the middle."
Before his win, Campbell said he was determined to win gold for his infant son. It was Team GB's second boxing gold, after Nicola Adams won a historic first gold in women's boxing last week. Campbell's success confirmed British boxing's best ever Olympic performance since Melbourne in 1956. Two more British boxers, Welsh welterweight Fred Evans and super heavyweight Anthony Joshua fight for gold tonight. Anthony Ogogo also secured a bronze for Britain in the middleweight division.
McKeever moves across water like lightning
The "Usain Bolt of canoeing" is a trainee accountant from Wiltshire. Team GB's Ed McKeever paddled his boat into a stiff headwind at a rate of three strokes per second to win the 200m kayak sprint in a searing time of 36.24 seconds, writes Ian Herbert. He raced at a speed of around 13mph. Bolt clears 200m at around 31mph, but he doesn't have to shift water while doing so. GB's head canoeing coach – Australian Brendan Purcell – estimates that McKeever clears 160 strokes in one minute. "I can't even move my arms that fast, let alone doing it in a boat," he said.
McKeever, asked how he felt about being associated with the Jamaican sprinter, did not demur: "Luckily I have the gold medal to go with it now. I am more worthy of that tagline." He said he had awoken at 5.30am yesterday "like a kid at Christmas … waiting to get my present".
He burst out in front when the eight boats set off, snatching a lead which he never looked like relinquishing. He sported the same type of aerodynamic top that the British cyclists have worn in triumph at the velodrome – evidence of the way the two elite sports have been sharing knowledge to gain marginal advantages in the Games.
McKeever's fiancée, Anya Kuczha, 26, revealed the extent of his dedication yesterday. The morning after proposing to her, he headed off to Australia for six months of training.
Purcell insisted the comparison with Bolt was not far-fetched: "From the point of physio-screening the guy is like a block of granite," he said.
Bronze leaves double kayakers breathless
An hour after McKeever took gold, Liam Heath and Jon Schofield won a bronze medal in the double kayak for Team GB, writes Emily Dugan. The pair took the country's second medal of the day after losing out in the 200m final to Russia, who came in first, and Belarus, who took silver.
Cheered on by a capacity crowd at Eton Dorney, which included the Prime Minister, David Cameron, the British kayakers took an early lead, but after 100m the Russians, Yury Postrigay and Alexander Dyachenko, stormed ahead to take gold.
"That was a really long race", Heath said afterwards, gasping for breath. "With a headwind like that, especially when you're going at that speed, it's really tough, but I'm so pleased."
Schofield said the medal was a relief. "The last few days have been horrible", he said. "We weren't happy with our heat and we were worried. But that start was amazing and we just about held on to get a medal."
Eighth place for GB's debut female mountain biker
Annie Last, the first British female mountain biker to compete in the Olympics for more than a decade, and a medal hope, missed out at the women's cross-country event yesterday, finishing in eighth place, writes Sarah Morrison.
The 21-year-old from Bakewell in the Peak District made a strong start, leading on the first six laps of the 4.7km route carved into an Essex hillside just 10 minutes from where her grandparents live. But the biker, ranked fourth in the world in a sport which only received Olympic status in 1996, finished two minutes and 55 seconds behind the winner, Julie Bresset of France, who secured her country's first cycling gold of the Games.
Last deferred her place to study medicine at Sheffield University to pursue cycling success. She said: "This is what I'm going to stick at for the time being and keep at it."
She added: "I'm really, really happy with my race … To be able to race at a home Olympics in front of a home crowd was incredible. The crowd was unbelievable. You can just feel the atmosphere and feel them pushing you forward."
Men's hockey players miss out on bronze hopes
Australia denied Britain's men's hockey team the chance to match the bronze won by Team GB's women on Friday, beating them 3-1 at the Olympic Park yesterday afternoon, writes Emily Dugan.
Just 48 hours after a humiliating 9-2 semi-final defeat to the Netherlands, GB's men had been hoping the play-off for third place would win them their first medal since 1988. But Australia took an early lead, with the one goal for Team GB coming from Iain Lewers after a penalty corner.
Just as Britain's hockey medals have dried up since 1988, Australia has had the reverse fate, climbing the podium at every Games since, taking silver in 1992 and 2004, and bronze in all the others.
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