There’s no denying it. Women are making themselves heard at this Olympics like never before. In fact, their male counterparts didn’t even manage to get a toe on the podium yesterday, as every single GB medal came from a female athlete.
A place on the podium proved just beyond the grasp of marathon swimmer and Beijing silver medallist, Keri-Anne Payne, who finished less than one excruciating second behind third placed Martina Grimaldi of Italy. Despite winning the world title in Shanghai last year, she trailed the leaders for most of the race and couldn’t muster the energy to push past them in the final strokes. Nevertheless, her imminent wedding to fellow GB swimmer, David Carry, should lift her spirits post-Games.
Trading the wetsuits for top hats and tail coats, Britain’s female horse riders were looking to snare yet more gold medals, following GB success in the Team Eventing, Dressage and Jumping events. Charlotte Dujardin and Laura Bechtolsheimer were through to the finals of the Individual Dressage event alongside established rider Carl Hester. Despite Hester’s depth of experience, it was Bechtolsheimer and Dujardin that won the respect of the judges with their individual routines.
… she could make a donkey do anything.
The latter chose iconic film tunes The Great Escape and Live and Let Die for her ride, which earned her an astonishing 90.089% from the judges to set a new Olympic record and secure her the gold. Dujardin’s mother, for one, wasn’t surprised at her daughter’s success, claiming that “fortunately, she could make a donkey do anything”. Bechtolsheimer also made it onto the podium, winning a bronze medal to accompany her Team Dressage gold medal.
The boxing ring proved just as lucrative a hunting ground for GB athletes, as Nicola Adams lined up in her flyweight final. The formidable world number one Ren Cancan from China stood between Adams and Olympic history, the chance to win the first ever women’s Olympic Gold medal. The British fighter showed no signs of feeling intimidated by her opponent and proceeded to utterly dominate the fight, even flooring Cancan with a stinging punch. After four rounds, there was no doubt who had seized control of the match. As Adams’s hand was raised to signal the victory, the only thing bigger than the roar of the crowd was the beaming smile on her face.
From boxing punches to taekwondo kicks, world number seven, Jade Jones, was the next fighter to battle her way through to an Olympic final. Known as the “Headhunter” because of her penchant for thumping her opponents round the head with high kicks, the Welsh teenager had already defeated world number one Tseng Li-Cheng with a flurry of blows to the head.
…the crowd at the ExCeL arena certainly appreciated her efforts…
Just like Adams, Jones then faced a Chinese world champion in her fight for gold – the mighty Yuzhou Hou, ranked second in the world. Jones put in a sublime performance despite fighting through the pain after picking up an injury in her first fight, to finish ahead by two points, 6-4. It was a remarkable achievement for the young athlete, who was only able to attend qualifying tournaments in her early career thanks to the fundraising efforts of the local community in her home town of Flint.
Speaking after the match, Jones revealed her determination going into the final. “I always wanted to go in and win”, she said. “She took my world championship – that killed me. I wouldn’t let her beat me with a home crowd.” And the crowd at the ExCeL arena certainly appreciated her efforts as they erupted in approval after the final round.
Another impressive and medal-studded day from Britain’s women, then. Let’s just hope the boys can catch up.