Rebecca Adlington & Jo Jackson - Making a nation proud.

on August 11, 2008 by Administrator

Every four years I suddenly get into swimming and this year was no different. I’d never heard of Rebecca Adlington before Sunday but after her qualification performance, I made the decision to set the alarm and watch her go for gold live.

I am sitting here at what, nigh on half three in the afternoon, zonked out but happy with the decision I made. The 400metres freestyle saw Team GB secure two-thirds of the medals, including that top spot. Jo Jackson would take bronze as we saw two Brits on a swimming rostrum at the Olympics for the first time since 1984.

The race itself saw Adlington just sit on the legs of Katy Hoff and pace herself for an assault on the American over the last 50. The BBC commentary team hardly even mentioned her name until 25 metres out and then by 15 metres out I think they realised she was really in the thick of it. With just five metres to go they knew she had it.

To see her celebrate with her good friend and compatriot in the lane next to her, it was wonderful to see. This isn’t even her best event and yet she has come away with the gold.

All this is great for the sport and it’ll serve as a short-term boost to swimming in this country. The best question is whether it can be a boost long-term for the sport. Swimming is one of those events which requires a lot of dedication. I used to go to school with a couple of swimmers and the amount of early morning’s that they had and then swims in the evening was quite staggering. If you want to be a top-class swimmer then hard work is right at the top of the tree of qualities you need -– even higher than natural talent.

I have up most respect for anyone who can win a medal at the Olympics but to take home a gold in the swimming pool is right up there with the toughest challenges in the sporting arena. I know it is someone I’ll probably never see nor see but she made a nation proud this morning and it made me cheer and possibly wake-up the house mates.

Well done to both Becky and Jo on a wonderful performance and here’s to your other events in Beijing!

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