Olympics 2020: Jemma Reekie’s medal hopes dashed on the line in Tokyo
And they almost grabbed two of the medals in the 800 metres only for Scotland’s Jemma Reekie to be denied bronze at the tape.
With three blondes in the final, the TV build-up couldn’t resist Charlie’s Angels-style graphics for Reekie, the 23-year-old from Beith, North Ayrshire, Keely Hodgkinson and Alex Bell.
It was the first time ever for a triple-pronged Brit assault on this title and the first time for three British women in an athletics final since Moscow 1980’s 200m.
There were no medals 41 years ago but this time Hodgkinson took silver. Going into the final bend, Reekie had been closest to the eventual winner, the phenomenal long-striding American, Athing Mu. But she didn’t have the finish to match Hodgkinson and, from nowhere, Raevyn Rogers was able to join compatriot Mu on the podium.
Afterwards Reekie didn’t hide her disappointment. “I wanted to do better,” she said. “I’ve got to be hard on myself because I came here to win.”
Ann Packer won the 800m at the last Tokyo Games with a thrilling charge inspiring one of David Coleman’s most memorable - and near combustible - commentaries. Dame Kelly Holmes came from behind to take gold in Athens. This race had been billed as anyone’s but Mu, the next US superstar, led from gun to tape and at no point looked like being overhauled.
Tactically, Reekie seemed to get most things right. Barged early on, she quickly removed herself from any further aggro. It must be of little consolation right now but the 23-year-old in finishing fourth ran a personal best of 1:56:90.
Hodkinson, just 19, posted 1:55:88 to claim the British record from Holmes. A criminology student from Wigan, overcome with emotion, she was asked what silver meant. “This,” she said, “because I never cry.”
Mu is 19, too. “Two teenagers on the podium is incredible,” added Hodgkinson, “and hopefully we’ve got many battles ahead of us.”
But don’t discount Reekie. “Sometimes you have to learn,” she said, “and Paris isn’t too far away.”
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