London 2012 Olympics: Scot Michael Jamieson wins silver as he sets third new record
MICHAEL Jamieson set a third British record in two days last night to claim an Olympic silver medal – and it took a world record by Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta to deny the Glaswegian gold.
• Michael Jamieson comes second to win silver, beaten by Hungarian Daniel Gyurta
• Gyurta broke world record to claim gold with time of 2:07.28
The final of the 200metres breaststroke was the first event of the evening at the Aquatic Centre, and it was fought out amid a frenzied atmosphere in front of a crowd who were on their feet long before the end. Having qualified fastest after establishing new best British marks in Tuesday’s heats and semi-finals, Jamieson knew he was in with a chance of a medal, and he put everything he had into the fight for gold.
Kosuke Kitajima of Japan, who was aiming to be the first man in Olympic history to win the same event at three successive Games – something Michael Phelps had only just failed to do a night earlier – set out strongly and was the early leader. By the halfway stage, however, Gyurta had taken over, and was inside world-record schedule, while Jamieson and British team-mate Andrew Willis were in the chasing pack of three or four.
Willis would fade over the second half of the race to finish last of the eight competitors, but Jamieson swam more strongly and pushed Gyurta all the way. The Hungarian touched in 2mins 07.28secs, just 0.15 of a second clear of his Scottish rival, and three-hundredths of a second inside the old record, set by Christian Sprenger of Australia in the summer of 2009. Ryo Tateishi took bronze, finishing more strongly than his compatriot Kitajima, who paid for too rapid a start.
Gyurta was the favourite for the event, but Jamieson’s superb form came as a surprise. He was only fifth at last year’s world championships, and was ranked second in Britain going into the Olympics, but showed his preparation had been spot-on by producing his best when it mattered most.
“I cannot believe I have just swum 2.07,” Jamieson said after securing Britain’s 100th swimming medal since the Games began. “What an amazing night. The crowd was unbelievable and I can only thank everyone for their support.
“Goose bumps again walking up to the blocks and it has been a pretty special week. I have done everything I have wanted to. It’s been a good day for Britain all round, and my team-mate Andrew has had another fantastic swim again tonight. It all bodes well for the future.”
Jamieson, who is now based in Bath, has had a lot of messages of support from north of the Border over the last few days, with one particularly pleasing one coming from Celtic manager Neil Lennon. The swimmer is a Celtic supporter and learned that his race, which began at 7.30pm, was to be shown on a big screen at Parkhead before last night’s Champions League qualifying match.
“That was pretty special,” he said. “I got a message saying the final was shown at Parkhead before the match, so I knew I had to deliver.
“It was pretty spectacular. I can only thank everyone for the support. It’s been really overwhelming. I am delighted I could repay that tonight.
“I knew after last night I was capable of getting a medal, and knew there was a chance of gold. But Daniel has been the overwhelming favourite this year. He’s been challenging the world record all season. I am delighted I ran him so close. I knew I had more to give, [but] I can’t really believe I have just swum 2:07.”
Since he moved to the south-west of England to train, Jamieson has been unable to get to as many matches as he did when he lived in his home city. But he hopes to be able to change that over the coming season – and an invitation to a match at Celtic Park would certainly be gratefully accepted.
“That would be amazing. I’m hoping to get up for a few more games next season as well. I was absolutely delighted tonight and it was pretty special to get a message from them as well. So thanks to them as well for their support.”
Jamieson added that he got his sister to check the authenticity of the message from Lennon, as he had had so many and he feared it might be a prank. True enough, though, it was real – and the Celtic website included a message to fans expressing the manager’s admiration of Jamieson’s achievement.
“It is a great achievement for Michael to reach tonight’s final,” he said. “I know he is a big supporter and on behalf of everyone at the club we wish him all the very best of luck for tonight. Hopefully we can welcome him back to Celtic Park as an Olympic medal winner in the near future. Michael and his team-mate Andrew Willis have given their all to get this far and we wish both of them well.”
Jamieson, who celebrates his 24th birthday on Sunday, explained that he had hoped for years that he would get a medal here, but that more recently he had come to see it as achievable. “In the last 18 months, getting a medal here has become more of a target. I think before that it was always a bit of a pipe dream. As I said before, I was pretty relaxed in the call room, and I think that’s just because I’ve played it over in my head so many times. Being here for this occasion and walking out for this final.
“I’ve been in good form this week and it’s a lot easier to swim when you’ve got a bit of confidence behind you. I knew I could swim fast tonight and I was just hoping that that was going to be enough to get on the podium. I spotted my friends and family as soon as I walked out for the medal ceremony. They’ve been designing banners the last couple of weeks and I spotted them tonight. It was important for me that they were here, too, so they know they were a part of this as well. My mum, dad, sister and a few of my friends and team-mates were here tonight.”
The Jamieson family and friends will surely be celebrating this result for some time to come, but the Olympian himself will be patient for another week and a half. “I won’t be partying until the Games are over. It’s been a great day for GB all round and hopefully today has lifted the whole team and we can kick on and move up that medals table. Once all’s said and done then we can all relax.”
It was the best result for a Scottish swimmer since David Wilkie won gold in 1976, Neil Cochrane and Graeme Smith having won bronze since. Jamieson is still young enough to achieve a lot more in the sport, but has got one particular event in mind – the Commonwealth Games of 2014 in his own city.
“I’ve got Glasgow to look forward to,” he added. “A bit of a homecoming, really. A home pool, a home Games. I’m going there to win.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 21 C
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Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
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