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 Britain wins gold, then another, then everybody celebrates a lot

Britain's Bradley Wiggins waits to start in the men's cycling individual time trial at the London Olympic Games on Wednesday. Wiggins won the gold, bringing Britain its second title of the Games so far. Cathal McNaughton / Reuters

Britain wins gold, then another, then everybody celebrates a lot

Rowers takes host's first title of Games; new hero Wiggins follows in cycling

British Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins has cemented his place as one of the country's greatest ever sportsmen, but the country is grateful to the girls for leading the way, the media said on Thursday.

Rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning eased growing home nerves by destroying the opposition to claim Britain's first gold of the 2012 Games, setting the stage for Wiggins to become the country's most decorated Olympian later in the day.

"At last, a golden touch brings Games to life for fervent fans," said the Daily Telegraph's front-page headline, while the Guardian went with "Phew", reflecting the sense of relief around Britain.

The Daily Mail splashed "Golden Wonders" above a picture of the victorious athletes, while popular tabloid The Sun opted simply to spell out "GOOOOOOOOOOOLD!" across its front page.

Cyclist Wiggins captured the nation's hearts when he became Britain's first winner of the Tour de France 10 days ago, and Olympic victory - coupled with his engaging personality - have ensured enduring fame.

"Bradley Wiggins: cycling's good bloke wins gold and public adoration", said the headline above Guardian columnist Zoe Williams' tribute.

"Britain's prolific Olympian talks almost as well as he cycles, making us love him all the more," she said.

The Daily Telegraph's Bryony Gordon also focused on Wiggins' down-to-earth demeanor, praising him for leaving the winners' enclosure in order to track down his wife and two children and greet his "adoring public".

"All hail Wiggo, the people's Olympian!" she said.

Britain wins gold, then another, then everybody celebrates a lot

"It was just a shame, he said, that the fans couldn't see the victory ceremony, which took place behind security checkpoints, but in front of Hampton Court Palace in the blazing sun - our greatest Olympian in front of one of our greatest historical buildings, creating the kind of picture perfect postcard that (Games organizer) Lord Seb Coe could only have dreamed of," she added.

But pre-race pressure had been eased by Team GB's gold earlier in the day courtesy of Glover and Stanning.

"Helen Glover and Heather Stanning deserve a place in GB Olympic history," said the Guardian's Kevin Mitchell.

"Team GB's first gold of this Olympic Games was an exhibition in determination, bravery and sporting excellence.

"Stories do not come a lot better than that. On the pond Eton college built for its privileged few, they delivered for a nation in the women's pair. What a bloody relief."

The Times' editorial paid tribute to the dedication of the gold-medalists.

"For Helen Glover, winning a gold medal came down to 7 minutes and 27.13 seconds of overwhelming effort after four years' training," it said. "For Bradley Wiggins, it took 50 minutes and 39 seconds. Preparation time: 20 years.

"Victory at the Olympics usually takes a little luck, but more than anything, it takes work. This is why it almost never fails to inspire. 'If you work hard and try your best, absolutely anyone can do anything', Glover panted on the pontoon at Eton Dorney. Which parent wouldn't print that out and stick it on the fridge?" it concluded.

(China Daily 08/03/2012 page10)

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