Olympics: A golden summer
PUBLISHED: 14:28 03 October 2016
Somerset's athletes had a big say in Team GB's recent sporting success in Rio, as the nation celebrated its best performance at an Olympic Games for more than 100 years, writes Andy Greeves
It was on day three of the Games that Somerset’s Ed Ling delivered Team GB’s third medal, winning bronze in the trap shooting event. The 33¬year¬old from Nynehead near Wellington followed hot on the heels of swimmers Adam Peaty and Jazmin Carlin who had secured gold and silver medals respectively for Great Britain some 24 hours earlier. Ed was the first of 17 Team GB bronze medallists in Rio and contributed to an overall haul of 67 medals that included 27 gold and 23 silver.
A day after Ling’s bronze, Bath-¬born swimmer Siobhan-¬Marie O’Connor claimed a silver in the women’s 200m individual medley.
Vicky Thornley and the legendary Katherine Grainger were responsible for the first of five medals Team GB won in rowing at the Rio Games. The Welsh-born, Bath University graduate took silver in the double sculls on day six which was an improvement on her fifth place finish in the women’s eight event at London 2012.
A day later, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning successfully defended their Olympic title from London 2012 by taking gold once again in the women’s rowing pairs. Helen, who trains at Minerva Bath Rowing Club, and Yeovil-born Heather dedicated their latest success to their coach Robin Williams.
Swimmer Chris Walker-Hebborn followed in the footsteps of his girlfriend Siobhan-Marie O’Connor by winning silver as part of the men’s 4x100m relay. The British team finished runners-up to an imperious American side which included 28-time Olympic medallist Michael Phelps. Chris, who is a member of the University of Bath’s swimming club, swam with Adam Peaty, Duncan Scott and James Guy in the race. James trains at Millfield School where he is coached by Jol Funk.
Former Millfieldian Ollie Lindsay-Hague was part of the Team GB squad that competed in the Olympic Games’ first-ever Rugby 7s competition. The British side excelled with Ollie playing a key role in the tournament and a43-7 defeat to Fiji in the final saw them take the silver.
Goalkeeper Maddie Hinch inspired Great Britain’s women’s hockey team to the greatest victory in their history on day 14 of the Games. Their gold medal match against Holland on finished in a 3-3 draw after normal time and was decided on a penalty shootout. Hinch saved every penalty she came up against, having also stopped one in normal time. The 27-year-old, who was born in West Chiltington in West Sussex, was raised in Keinton Mandeville in Somerset and attended King’s College Taunton.
Don’t forget to grab November’s issue of Somerset Life for an exclusive interview with Maddie Hinch.
Three Bristol-born athletes returned from Rio with medals after some fantastic performances.
Judoka Sally Conway, who first took up the sport aged ten, defeated Austria’s Bernadette Graf to win a bronze medal in the -70kg event on day five. Day 14 meanwhile proved to be a glorious one for both Great Britain and the city of Bristol with former Bristol Grammar School pupil Emily Diamond part of the women’s team that took bronze in the 4x100m athletics. That same night, ex-Clifton College pupil Lily Owsley was in the squad responsible for the greatest victory in the history of British hockey. Team GB defeated Holland on penalties after a 2-2 tie in normal time that saw Lily and co win the gold medal.