All eyes were on the velodrome today as the final day of competition there saw team GB secure two more golds. One came from a young, precocious talent, in the process of becoming an Olympic star and the other came from an old hand, one of the true greats of cycling. Gold also came today in the esoteric delight that is dressage. But before all of that, delivering gold and bronze, were the brothers, Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, in the gruelling trial that is the triathlon.
A memorable moment of the games four years ago was Usain Bolt slowing down and looking around whilst winning in the 100m. Well Alistair Brownlee took this further today, heading to the crowd in the finishing straight, taking a Union Flag, draping it around his shoulders, then jogging the last 50m or so before finally wandering over the line. Such was the lead that he’d built up. Surely this was one of the finest performances of the games.
Usually in sport it’s pretty obvious what the point is. You score a goal, you get from A to B first, and so on. Even in the events that use judges it’s pretty obvious when, say, a gymnast has flubbed a dismount. But sometimes a sport can be genuinely baffling. Watching Team GB winning the dressage I had absolutely no idea what was going on. It appeared to be horses dancing but it wasn’t obvious what counted as a good or bad dance. Still, well done to Team GB on the gold, whatever it was for.
The main focus of today for Team GB fans was the velodrome where the Olympic careers of two cycling greats, Victoria Pendleton and Chris Hoy, were most likely coming to a close. However, stealing some of the focus from them was a new up and coming star. Just twenty years old, Laura Trott proved herself to be the world’s finest all-round female cyclist by winning the six-event omnium, and with it her second gold of the games.
Next up was Pendleton in the women’s sprint final but this time her Aussie rival, Anna Meares, got the better of her, having previously lost to her in the keirin. Still, this was a golden games for Pendleton and a fitting ending. Then came Chris Hoy. This Olympic great powered his way home in the keirin to collect his sixth career gold medal, putting him one ahead of Steve Redgrave. If it is an Olympic ending for him then this was the perfect way to bow out.