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29th Olympic Games - JO
Beijing, China, August 9-23, 2008
Event 32 - August 19: Women's Sprint Finals
Pendleton adds to British tally
By Rob Jones in Beijing
The women's sprint final came down to an emotionally charged pairing between three time sprint world champion Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain) and Athens 500m gold medallist Anna Meares (Australia). Pendleton, bouyed by the success of her British team, powered away from Meares in two rides to take home the gold.
In the bronze medal final it was hometown hero Shuang Guo (China) who surprised by beating Dutch former BMX world champion Willy Kanis in two rides. Guo suffered a crash and a relegation in the semi-finals to miss out on the gold medal round, but thrilled the crowd by besting Kanis to secure her country's first cycling medal of the Games.
Pendleton expressed disbelief at finally winning Olympic gold. "I keep wanting to pinch myself, thinking I'll wake up. I knew my speed was good from the qualifier and first rounds, but I was such a mess because I wanted it so badly. I had to focus on the process to get through it."
Meares was ecstatic with silver, after battling back from injury. "I can't begin to tell you how much this means to me. Silver could be good as gold for me right now. It's been a tough run, for sure, but an amazing journey. To be seven months out from the Olympics and have a crash that fractures two vertebrae, and you could be a quadraplegic ... so many things go out the door, you think your Olympic dream is out the door. I have worked really hard, and fought hard. This is worth all the efforts to get back on the bike."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Casey Gibson/www.cbgphoto.com
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
Images by Greg Chang/Photosport International
Final Race 1 1 Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain) 11.363 2 Anna Meares (Australia) Race 2 1 Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain) 11.118 2 Anna Meares (Australia) Bronze medal ride Race 1 1 Shuang Guo (China) 11.420 2 Willy Kanis (Netherlands) Race 2 1 Shuang Guo (China) 11.617 2 Willy Kanis (Netherlands) 5-8th final 5 Clara Sanchez (France) 12.264 6 Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus) 7 Jennie Reed (USA) REL Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) Ninth place ride 9 Swetlana Grankowskaja (Russia) 12.192 (59.055 km/h) 10 Lisandra Guerra (Cuba) 11 Yvonne Hijgenaar (Netherlands) 12 Sakie Tsukuda (Japan)