Finest Hour?Britain’s Wild Ride in Beijing
25, Aug 2008 19:56
British Olympic athlete Rebecca Romero could easily have felt like she had missed the boat. Four years ago in Athens, Romero was part of her country's silver-medal-winning quadruple-sculls team. But a back injury after Athens meant she wasn't at the oars on Aug. 17, when four compatriots splashed to another second-place finish, this time on Shunyi lake, site of the Beijing Olympics rowing events. Fortunately Romero had a Plan B. She started racing bikes in 2006, and just minutes after the British crew took silver, Romero was across town inside the Laoshan Velodrome, riding to a remarkable victory in cycling's 3,000-m individual-pursuit event. Having ditched the boat for a bike, Romero became the first British woman to bag medals in two Olympic sports.
英國的奧運選手Rebecca Romero往往感到她錯失良機。四年前的雅典奧運，Romero是英國榮獲銀牌的四人泛舟選手之一。然而雅典奧運後她的背部受傷，宣告了她再也無法參與8月17號的賽事，由另外四位國家選手參賽，這一次是在Shunyi河，也就是北京奧運的划船比賽地點。幸運地Romero有一個B計畫。在2006時她開始嘗試自行車賽，而當初在英國的同伴們贏得銀牌不久，Romero穿越Laoshan Velodrome的城鎮，在3000公尺個人自行車賽中以傲人的成績贏得了勝利。從泛舟到騎自行車，Romero成為英國史上第一位在奧運中兩度奪牌的女性。
Only a handful of Olympians have ever reached the podium in different disciplines. (German Christa Luding-Rothenburger, for example, medaled in the 1988 Winter Olympics in speedskating and in bicycle-racing in the summer Games that same year.) But what made Romero's gold medal shine brighter was the speed of her midcareer switch to cycling. Most élite athletes train for at least eight years before they are ready to challenge for a place on the Olympic podium, says Andy Borrie, head of performance sport for the Sports Development Centre at Loughborough University in central England, a training ground for many of Britain's Olympians. Romero, 28, took less than two years. Her swift success represents "a huge amount of learning in a very short space of time," Borrie says.
只有很少數的奧運選手曾經在同時不同項目中奪牌（以德國的Christa Luding-Rothenburger為例，他曾經在1988年的冬季奧運賽中的冰上競速與夏季賽事的自行車賽兩項奪牌）但因為Romero迅速的轉換跑道到自行車賽，她的金牌便顯得更加難能可貴。大部分的菁英運動員至少需要接受八年的訓練，直到他們準備好挑戰奧運獎盃，Andy Borrie說道（英格蘭市中心的Loughborough大學運動發展中心下的體育部長）。Romero，28歲，只花了不到兩年的時間。她的迅速成功代表了她「在短時間內大量的學習」，Borrie說道。
The same might be said for Britain's overall Olympic effort. In Athens, the country's medal total was 30, which was fewer than nine other countries. But in Beijing, the empire has bounced back. By Aug. 20, the 12th day of the Games, British athletes had captured a total of 36 medals, including 16 golds — the country's best haul in a century. Only China, with 45 gold medals, and the U.S., with 26, had done better in Beijing. This suddenly muscular showing augurs well: London will be the site of the 2012 summer Games, and the hosts-to-be want so much for their athletes to distinguish themselves at home that funding for competitive Olympic training programs — already greatly improved over the last decade — is set to increase further ahead of the event. According to Romero, it is Britain's world-beating cyclists — winners of half of the country's Beijing golds — who hold the key to success in 2012. "If other British sports don't learn from us," Romero said after taking gold, "we're not going to dominate at the London games."