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Rowers Grainger and Watkins find Olympic bliss at last

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Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins of Great Britain celebrate after winning gold in the Women's Double Sculls

Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins of Great Britain celebrate after winning gold in the Women's Double Sculls

Harry How

Winning  smile: Jessica Ennis after winning heat 5 of the Women's Heptathlon 100m Hurdles

Winning smile: Jessica Ennis after winning heat 5 of the Women's Heptathlon 100m Hurdles

Adam Davy

Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins poses for the press after winning the Men's Individual Time Trial on day five of the London Olympic Games at Hampton Court Palace, London

Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins poses for the press after winning the Men's Individual Time Trial on day five of the London Olympic Games at Hampton Court Palace, London

Owen Humphreys

Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins with his gold medal during a photocall at GB house in London after he won it in the Men's Road Cycling Individual Time Trial.

Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins with his gold medal during a photocall at GB house in London after he won it in the Men's Road Cycling Individual Time Trial.

Andrew Milligan

Ning Ding of China plays a forehand during the Women's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match against Ai Fukuhara of Japan on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012

Ning Ding of China plays a forehand during the Women's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match against Ai Fukuhara of Japan on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012

Feng Li

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Hope Munro (L) of Australia drops her stick as she is challenged by Julia Mueller of Germany during the Women's Hockey Match between Germany and Australia on day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Riverbank Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Hope Munro (L) of Australia drops her stick as she is challenged by Julia Mueller of Germany during the Women's Hockey Match between Germany and Australia on day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Riverbank Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Daniel Berehulak

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Michael Maze of Denmark completes during the Men's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match against Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Michael Maze of Denmark completes during the Men's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match against Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Feng Li

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  xxxx plays a forehand during the xxxx match against xxxx on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: xxxx plays a forehand during the xxxx match against xxxx on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Feng Li

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Chad le Clos of South Africa celebrates after winning the gold in the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Chad le Clos of South Africa celebrates after winning the gold in the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Al Bello

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  xxxx plays a forehand during the xxxx match against xxxx on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: xxxx plays a forehand during the xxxx match against xxxx on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Feng Li

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Anthony Davis #14 of United States dunks over Salah Mejri #15 of Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Anthony Davis #14 of United States dunks over Salah Mejri #15 of Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Ian Walton

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Kosuke Kitajima of Japan prepares to compete in the Men's 200m Breaststroke semi final 2 on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Kosuke Kitajima of Japan prepares to compete in the Men's 200m Breaststroke semi final 2 on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Adam Pretty

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Shiwen Ye of China competes in the Women's 200m Individual Medley final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Shiwen Ye of China competes in the Women's 200m Individual Medley final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Adam Pretty

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  (L-R) Gemma Lowe of Great Britain and Kathleen Hersey of the United States dive in the water at the start of the Women's 200m Butterfly semi final 2 on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: (L-R) Gemma Lowe of Great Britain and Kathleen Hersey of the United States dive in the water at the start of the Women's 200m Butterfly semi final 2 on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Adam Pretty

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Russell Westbrook #7 of United States dunks the ball against Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Russell Westbrook #7 of United States dunks the ball against Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Christian Petersen

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt competes with Byungchul Choi of Korea in the Men's Foil Individual Semifinal against on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt competes with Byungchul Choi of Korea in the Men's Foil Individual Semifinal against on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

Hannah Johnston

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Anderson Mina Rojas of Equador (R) in action with Uktamjon Rahmonov of Uzbekistan during the Men's Light Welter (64kg) Boxing on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Anderson Mina Rojas of Equador (R) in action with Uktamjon Rahmonov of Uzbekistan during the Men's Light Welter (64kg) Boxing on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***

Scott Heavey

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Ai Fukuhara of Japan serves during the Women's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match match against Ning Ding of China on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Ai Fukuhara of Japan serves during the Women's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match match against Ning Ding of China on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Chris McGrath

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Gabrielle Douglas of the United States of America competes on the balance beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Gabrielle Douglas of the United States of America competes on the balance beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Ronald Martinez

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Elizabeth Tweddle of Great Britain performs on the uneven bars in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Elizabeth Tweddle of Great Britain performs on the uneven bars in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Cameron Spencer

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Sheng Lei of China celebrates winning the Men's Foil Individual Gold Medal Bout against Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Sheng Lei of China celebrates winning the Men's Foil Individual Gold Medal Bout against Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

Hannah Johnston

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Silver medallist Michael Phelps of the United States reacts after receiving his medal during the medal ceremony for the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Silver medallist Michael Phelps of the United States reacts after receiving his medal during the medal ceremony for the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Al Bello

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Qingfeng Lin of China competes during the Men's 69kg Weightlifting Final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Qingfeng Lin of China competes during the Men's 69kg Weightlifting Final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

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Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins of Great Britain celebrate after winning gold in the Women's Double Sculls

Katherine Grainger's quest for Olympic glory is over after she won a sensational gold medal with Anna Watkins in the women's double scull.

After three successive silver medals and 12 years as an Olympic bridesmaid, Grainger finally tasted glory as she and Watkins destroyed the field to beat Australia by a length.

Northern Ireland's Alan Campbell followed up Grainger and Watkins' success by winning a bronze in the single scull.

The men's pair of Will Satch and George Nash also won bronze as Britain's rowing medal haul swelled to six.



The image of the day was of Grainger punching the air as Britain crossed the line. She went into an embrace with Watkins and acknowledged the support of the 30,000 crowd after finally tasting victory at an Olympics.

Grainger had been Britain's first female Olympic rowing medallist, at Sydney in 2000. In 2006 she was awarded an MBE for services to rowing and four years ago became the first British female athlete to win medals at three successive Olympic Games.

But they were all silver and Grainger was so distraught at missing out in Beijing that, for four months, she considered whether to retire.

Every official function she attended on her return from Beijing felt like the knife being twisted deeper and deeper - but the lure of winning in London drove her on.

Grainger and Watkins, a bronze medallist from Beijing, did not just win. They stormed to victory, as they have done for most of the last two years.

After coming together in 2010, Grainger and Watkins have now won 23 consecutive races. None of them as emotional as this as Grainger finally received the gold medal she craved.

"We absolutely knew we had all the goods to perform and we just did it," Grainger said.

"It's the satisfaction of a job well done."

She told the BBC: "I feel this medal of all of them is the people's medal. I feel so many people have been behind me and supported me and wanted this for me as much as I have.

"It's off the back of everyone I've ever worked with, everyone I've ever rowed with, everyone who's helped me going back to my family who were there from the beginning, to my friends at school, university.

"Every single person's been a part of this and it makes the medal seem so much more special."

Watkins, who won bronze in Beijing and was just as important a part of the victorious British crew as Grainger, said: "I just can't believe it. I had to ask Katherine if it was a dream because I'd tried to keep my mind away from this moment.

"It just doesn't seem real. We've had so many successful races and this was just another race but then it was the right one.

"I can't quite believe we've got to this point."

Belfast Telegraph


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