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Britain's golden girls, Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson, proudly display their coveted medals after victory in the sailing on Sunday
Photo: Getty Images
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The winner of the 4000m cycling event, 28-year-old Bradley Wiggins, celebrates his success
Photo: Getty Images

Rebecca Adlington holds up her two Olympic gold swimming medals
Photo: Getty Images

Golden weekend for British athletes as they reach Olympic heights

18 AUGUST 2008
In a weekend hailed as the "greatest in British Olympic history", Britain's athletes notched up an incredible 17 medals in Beijing, including eight golds, in just two days, to reach third place in the medals table.

The success began on Saturday, as swimmer Rebecca Adlington took her second Olympic victory with a new world record in the 800 metres freestyle. Next up were Britain's coxless four Tom James, Steve Williams, Peter Reed and Andy Hodge who fought back to take gold ahead of the Australian and French rowers.

In the men's cycling, Bradley Wiggins powered his way to victory to keep his 4000 metres individual pursuit title, while Chris Hoy became Scotland's greatest Olympian by taking his second gold in Beijing in the keirin sprint race.

Blonde sailing trio Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson kicked off Sunday's day of triumph, beating the bad weather to win the Yngling race. Ben Ainslie, meanwhile, made it a personal hatrick of golds as he sailed to victory for the third Olympics running.

At the same time, living up to their reputation as the golden boys of Team GB were the men's lightweight double skulls team, Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter, who took Britain's first ever gold in the event. Then the national anthem was being played once more as cyclist Rebecca Romero climbed the winner's podium after success the women's individual pursuit final four years after taking a silver in Athens as a rower.

There's a royal celebration waiting the squad when they return home, too. Delighted by the team's progress, the Queen has invited the Olympians to a Buckingham Palace drinks reception in October, where they will be personally congratulated by the royal family. And praise has also come from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who says: "We are immensely proud of what they have achieved and inspired by their performance."


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