London: A day after leaving the London Velodrome in tears, Victoria Pendleton was all smiles on Friday as she came back with a vengeance to claim the second Olympic gold medal of her career, sparking scenes of jubilation in the overheated arena.
Pendleton washed away the disappointment of her disqualification in the team sprint by winning the gold medal in the keirin with a flawless performance in her least-favorite event.
The 31-year-old, who won the individual sprint in Beijing four years ago, will retire after the London Games. Determined to go out in style, she did not attend the post race press conference to rest up before defending her title in the individual sprint, with the qualifying starting Sunday.
“I’m really looking forward to the sprint,” Pendleton said. “I’m hoping that the sprint, I’ve got a good chance there. I’ve got to take confidence from this into tomorrow.”
There was more success in the velodrome on Friday as the men’s pirsuit team successfully defended the gold medal they won in Beijing with a convincing final victory over Australia. The team was made up of Geraint Thomas, Edward Clancy, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh.
Saturday’s action saw Great Britain reap a record Olympic harvest at the rowing regatta, which concluded with the host nation claiming two of the four concluding finals.
The day began with Alex Gregory, Pete Reed, Tom James and Andrew Triggs Hodge winning the country’s fourth successive men’s four title. The home crew led from the first stroke to deny arch rivals Australia.
After maintaining the host nation’s grip on the division, Triggs Hodge said: “That was our masterpiece, it took four years to make.”
Next to take to the water at Eton Dorney were Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking, who won Britain’s first ever lightweight women’s double sculls gold.
“We’ll be on a (postage) stamp tomorrow,” beamed Copeland, who only teamed up with Hosking this year.
There were high hopes of a third gold courtesy of defending champions Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter in the lightweight men’s double sculls, but they had to settle for silver after being pipped to the line by Danish duo Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist.
On the track, Britain’s three 100m runners — James Dasaolu (10.13s), Adam Gemili (10.11s) and Dwain Chambers (10.02s) — all safely negotiated the first round to qualify for Sunday’s semi-finals.
Nigel Levine (45.58s), Conrad Williams (46.12s) and Martyn Rooney (45.36s) all made the 400m semi-finals.
— With inputs from AP