As the Olympics 2012 draws to a close we take a look at
Our North East Olympians and how well they did!
On the grass
Team GB came in to the Olympics with 542 athletes, containing a group of 14 women from the north east. One of the very first sports to feature two of our girls was the women’s football. Jill Scott (25, Sunderland, 1 goal) and Stephanie Houghton (24, Durham, 3 goals) were part of the team who cruised their way through their first opening 3 matches, with a spectacular 1-0 win over Brasil. Hope Powell decided to play star player Kelly Smith in the Brasil game in which she took a few knocks and subsequently missed a tough quarter-final against Canada, which they lost 2-0. But all in all a great performance from the girls and I’m sure they will take away some great memories they will never forget!
On the floor
Sarah Clark (34, South Shields, competed Olympics 2004, 2008) suffered an unlucky early exit in her first round against Automne Pavia of France in the under-57kgs Judo, losing by a golden score. I’m sure Sarah will be back to try again! The Olympics 2012 was also the first time for women’s boxing. Fighting our corner was Savannah Marshall (21, Hartlepool). Savannah had a BYE in the first round, only to be beaten by Marina Volnova of Kazakhstan 12-16 in the second round who went on to win joint Bronze. Svanannah is only 21 and will have learnt a lot from this experience and be fighting fit for the next Olympics. It was also very close for trampolinist Kat Driscoll (26, Houghton-le-spring) who just missed out on a place in the final by coming 9th in the qualification round with a final score of 100.985. Unlucky Kat 🙂
In the team sports Chantelle Handy (25, Consett) was part of team gb’s basketball team, who had some moments of brilliance but were unable to make it out of their group and into the next round.
In the water
In the water we had several girls from the north east. Aimee Wilmott (19, Middlesbrough) swam in the 400m but her time of 4:38.87 mins wasn’t enough to make the final. Jemma Lowe (22, Hartlepool, finalist Beijing 2008) swam brilliantly to make the final of the both the 200m butterfly and 4 x 100 replay but unfortunately did not win a medal. Steph Proud (23, Chester-le-street) made it into the semi-finals of the 200m backstroke managing a valiant 4th place with a time of 2:09.04 mins, just missing out on the final. Also in the water we had Chloe Wilcox (25, Cumbria) in the women’s water polo who were unlucky not to win any of their games but came extremely close.
On the water
On the water is where our first success story comes! Katherine Copeland (21, Ingleby Barwick) and her rowing partner Sophie Hosking won Gold in the light weight double skulls final. Kat and Sophie had only joined forces three months earlier and already had a solitary World Cup silver medal under their belt to reflect their partnership. Feeding on the roar of a 30,000-strong crowd, they delivered a performance of a life-time!
Kat said to Sophie on crossing the line ‘We’ve just won — we’re going to be on a stamp”.
Also in the rowing was Jessica Eddie (27, Durham, competed in Beijing 2008) who came 5th in the women’s eight final with a time of 6:18.77 mins.
On the track
Personally trained by Steve Cram, young runner Laura Weightman (21, Morpeth) has done brilliant to make it into the final of the 1500m tonight at 20.55, good luck Laura! Now last but not least we have Johanna Jackson (27, Middlesbrough) who will competed the in women’s 20km race walk only to be disqualified, Johanna is still confused as to why it happened!
We had 6 great north east male Olympians at this years Olympics. Paul Drinkhall (22, Middlesbrough) really stood out as a strong contender for a medal having recently won the English Nationals Table Tennis 2012 Final. Paul sailed through his first two games winning 4-0 to Ibrahem Alhasan of Kuwait, then 4-1 against Zi Yang of Singapore. Then came up against Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany only to be beaten 4-1 and sadly further bad luck in the men’s team where they were knocked out in the first round.
A local guy wanting to leave his final mark on the Olympics was Matt Wells (33, Hexham) who competed in the Men’s rowing quadruple sculls. The team put in a great effort to make the final and came 5th with a time of 5:49.19 mins. Matt will now retire from the Olympics with a bronze medal from Beijing under his belt, and is marking his retirement with a special Olympic-standard event on the Tyne at Hexham. Well done Matt!
Chris Tomlinson (30, Middlesbrough) is the british indoor and outdoor record holder, and was a big hope for a medal. Chris did well to make it through to the long jump final and his jump of 8.07 metres meant his finished in 6th place. This bettered his jump of 7.70 metres in Beijing. A positive result.
On the track we had two local north east guys. First up was Ross Murray (21. Gateshead) who ran in the 1500m. Although just twelve months ago Ross Murray had given up on his athletics dream. He was considering becoming a holiday rep. But, a change of heart and a stunning personal best in Hengelo in May put him on the fringes of Olympic selection. Ross made it through to the semi-finals but his time of 3:44.92 mins meant he missed out on reaching the final. Let hope Ross returns in 2016! Next up was Nick McCormick (30, Hexham) who ran in the 5000m with a great time of 13:25.70 mins but because in his heat had several fast times Nick just missed out on a place in tomorrows final. Unlucky Nick!
Finally the men’s football. Representing the north east was Jason Steele (21, Middlesbrough) who plays as a goal keeper for Middlesbrough FC. Team GB finished top of Group A win 7 points (2 wins, 1 draw). In the next round a 1-1 draw against Korea went to penalties and team gb unfortunately lost 4-5. We never seem to have much luck with penalties! But an overall good performance from the boys!
Good luck in 2016 everyone!