We salute our Westcountry Olympic heroes
By Western Morning News | Monday, August 13, 2012, 06:30
Their names now blaze brightly in the pages of Olympic history.
Helen Glover, right, and Heather Stanning
After years of punishing training regimes Westcountry athletes clinched a glittering collection of medals for the nation's display cabinet.
The haul included three gold, one silver and a bronze for team GB – plus another gold for Lithuania, courtesy of Plymouth schoolgirl Ruta Meilutyte, 15, representing her home country.
As the nation prepares to support our paralympians, the Western Morning News salutes the region's Olympic heroes.
Plymouth College girl Ruta was the first to reach the top of the podium, powering her way to gold in the women's 100 metre breaststroke.
Equestrian Mary King followed the win the next day with a silver medal for Team GB in the eventing.
The 51-year-old from Sidmouth, East Devon, astride her horse Imperial Cavalier, was competing at her sixth Olympic Games in London.
Then Helen Glover and Heather Stanning earned their place in history after storming to glory in a dazzling display in the women's pairs rowing to take gold. Helen, 26, a former PE teacher, from Penzance, and Yeovil-born Heather, 27, who is in the Army, were the first to put a gold on Team GB's medal sheet.
Peter Wilson, 25, was next in centre position on the podium when his shooting skills were rewarded with gold in the double trap. Wilson, who grew up on a farm in Sherborne, held his nerve throughout a tense, close competition.
Three days later it was sailor Ben Ainslie's turn to step into the limelight. The 35-year-old, who learned to sail in Cornwall, won his fourth gold in a row to become the most successful Olympic sailor. His triumph at Weymouth was the fourth gold since he won his first Olympics at the Atlanta Games aged just 19 years old.
Finally on the penultimate day of the epic sporting event it was Tom Daley's turn to wow the crowds. In a closely-run competition the 18-year-old Plymouth College student won bronze in the 10m men's platform dive.
Other Westcountry athletes at the games included Devon runner Jo Pavey, rower Bill Lucas, 24, and swimmer Liam Tancock, 27, both from Exeter, fencer James Honeybone, 21, and rower Annabel Vernon, 29, both from Truro and air pistol shooter Georgina Geike, 27, from Okehampton.