Olympic Legends In The Making

Posted on: 26 August 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

The Beijing Olympics came to a stunning end on Sunday. We pick out our superstar performers.

Spectacular fireworks lit the night sky as China brought an end to one of the best organised Games in history, which also staged some of the most memorable opening and closing ceremonies ever seen.

London mayor Boris Johnson was on hand to collect the Olympic flag as the countdown begins for 2012 in the British capital.

In all, Beijing saw 43 new world records set and 132 new Olympic records broken. A record 87 countries won a medal during the Olympics with Chinese athletes winning 51 gold medals altogether – the second largest haul by a national team in a modern, non-boycotted Games.

Team GB produced their best display for over 100 years winning 19 golds to finish fourth in the medal table with a haul of 47 medals.

We take a look at GB’s most memorable winners and relive some legendary performances from athletes around the world from the 2008 Olympics.

Team GB: Top 5

1) Chris Hoy

Won three gold medals in cycling’s team sprint, keirin and individual sprint events

Chris HoyChris Hoy was the headline act with three golds as Team GB dominated at cycling’s velodrome, while the sailors and rowers once again lived up to their usual high standards.

Hoy’s treble made him Scotland’s most successful Olympian of all time. He also became the first Briton to win three medals in a single Olympic Games since Henry Taylor in 1908 and the most successful Olympic  male cyclist of all time.

You can see Chris Hoy win his third Olympic gold by visiting http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/cycling/7570265.stm.

2) Rebecca Adlington

Won double gold in the women’s swimming 400m and 800m

Rebecca Adlington's performance in the pool was more of a surprise - the 19-year-old from Mansfield did the 400m and 800m freestyle double for Britain's first swimming golds since Adrian Moorhouse 20 years ago.

She broke the 19-year-old world record of Janet Evans in the 800m and is Britain’s first swimmer to win two Olympic gold medals since 1908.

Watch Rebecca Adlington become Britain's most successful Olympic swimmer of all time http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/swimming/7579833.stm.

3) Rebecca Romero

Won cycling gold in the individual pursuit

Rebecca RomeroRebecca Romero became the first British woman ever to compete in two difference sports at the Olympic Games. She rode to individual pursuit gold in cycling to become only the second woman of any country to win a medal in two different sports at Summer Olympics.

Four years earlier, the 28-year-old won silver in rowing’s quadruple skulls.

You can see Rebecca Romero take Olympic gold here http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/cycling/7565385.stm.

4) Christine Ohuruogu

Only British athlete to win track gold with 400m victory

Christine OHURUOGUOhuruogu won the 400m after beating pre-race favourite Sanya Richards of the USA after a tremendous finish the down straight. Shericka Williams could only manage second place for Jamaica, leaving Richards with bronze and Britain celebrating gold.

Ohuruogu’s gold in a time of 49.62s made her Team GB’s first – and only – track and field Olympic champion of the 2008 Games and the first British female Olympic champion in the 400m.

See Christine Ohuruogu's golden sprint here http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/athletics/7569859.stm.

5) Nicole Cook

Team GB’s first gold medal winner at Beijing in the women’s cycling road race

The Welsh cyclist claimed GB’s first gold way back on the 10th August after a thrilling road race.

The 25-year-old timed her finish to perfection, powering off the front and away from Emma Johansson and Tatiana Guderzo in the sprint to the line, clocking a time of three hours, 32 minutes and 24 seconds to become the first of many Olympic medallists for GB in Beijing.

Watch Nicole Cook grab Team GB's first gold medal in Beijing here http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/cycling/7552294.stm.

The Best Of The Rest

1) Usain Bolt

Bolt win’s men’s 100m, 200m and relay with world records

Jamaican Usain Bolt broke three world records as he cruised to a sprint title treble and livened up the athletics arena with his flamboyant celebrations.

Usain BoltBolt secured the traditional title "World's Fastest Man" by setting new world records in the 100m and 200m dashes. Bolt ran the 100 metres in 9.69S, the 200 metres in 19.30s and, along with his teammates, the 4x100 metres relay in 37.10s.

The 22-year-old became the first man to win all three events at a single Olympics since Carl Lewis in 1984, and the first man in history to set world records in all three at a single Olympics. His name and achievements in sprinting have earned him the nickname "Lightning Bolt".

To watch Bolt break his records visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/athletics/7579888.stm.

2) Michael Phelps

American swimmer won eight titles, beating the 36-year-old gold medal mark set by Mark Spitz

Michael PhelpsPhelps broke the records for most golds in one Olympics and for most career gold medals for an Olympian. He holds 14 Olympic golds to his name and set seven new world records in Beijing.

Overall, Phelps has won 16 Olympic medals: six gold and two bronze at Athens in 2004, and eight gold at in Beijing.

To see Phelps break seven world records and become the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/swimming/7579829.stm.

3) Maarten Van Der Weijden

Dutch swimmer overcomes leukemia to win gold

Van Der Weijden beat Team GB’s David Davies to Olympic gold in the 10km open water race after a furious fight over the last 400 metres.

The Dutchman was only given a slim chance of survival when diagnosed with leukemia seven years ago, yet in Beijing he triumphed after one of the most astonishing endurance events the Games has ever seen.

You can see GB's David Davies battle to a second-place finish against Maarten Van Der Weijden here http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/swimming/7573725.stm.

What was your favourite Olympic memory at Beijing? Who is the greatest champion, Bolt or Phelps?

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