London 2012: Britain Enjoys Rush From Gold Medal Success
LONDON – The British media and celebrities alike exploded in celebration Wednesday as Team Great Britain cyclist Bradley Wiggins and rowers Heather Stanning and Helen Glover tasted Olympic gold.
Wiggins followed up the history-making female rowers – the duo marked the first time the U.K. has won any female rowers to win an Olympic title ever – with his own record-book entries.
Not only did he become the U.K.'s most decorated Olympian of all time with a medal haul of seven in total, including four gold, he also became the first cyclist ever to hold the Tour de France crown and the Olympic road race title.
The Tour de France winner Wiggins dominated the 44 kilometer road race to beat Germany's Tony Martin by 42 seconds, with Britain's Chris Froome taking the bronze.
"I think it should be "arise Sir Brad," shouted the breathless BBC commentator after the cyclist was confirmed as an Olympic champion once again.
His success made front page news across the British media's internet sites while setting twitter alight with congratulations from fellow teammates, the British Prime Minister and celebrities alike.
PM David Cameron described Wiggins as "a true British hero."
He tweeted: "First the Tour & now Olympic Gold" before describing Froome as "great too."
Amid jubilant scenes at Hampton Court, Wiggins, who pretended to conduct the national anthem after receiving the fourth gold medal of his career, said: "It will never, never get better than that. Incredible. It had to be gold today or nothing. What's the point of seven medals if they're not the right colour? Mainly it's about the four golds. Now I have to go to Rio and go for five."
Pop band Coldplay tweeted its collective congratulations for the cycling phenomenon who just 10 days ago became the first Briton to win the Tour De France, the world's ultimate cycling race.
The band said: "Huge congratulations to Bradley Wiggins, Heather Stanning and Helen Glover for starting the #TeamGB #London2012 gold rush."
And rock star Paul Weller, whose song "Going Underground" was among the tunes played during Danny Boyle's opening ceremony, also tweeted his "huge congratulations from all at Paul Weller HQ" to the cyclist.
Wiggins, who had been described by one Twitter wag as "Lance Armstrong meets Paul Weller," mounted his bike in front of hundreds of spectators, many of home sported fake sideburns made out of ginger carpet.
People wearing the fake orange sideburns –male and female fans alike -- were being interviewed on BBC Radio5Live, not a place for such a visual joke.
But the U.K.'s collective anguish at whether or not Wiggins could perform under intense scrutiny and pressure made his victory all the sweeter for the jubilant media.
His success came after Prince William and Prince Harry watched Team GB break its gold drought at the Summer Olympics here as women's pair Helen Glover and Heather Stanning rowed to victory.
The Royals were in the crowd at Eton Dorney to watch the duo dominate the race to win the U.K.'s first gold of the Games and row into the history books.
Cameron had used his Downing Street feed in the aftermath of the duck-breaking golds: "I couldn't be more delighted that Helen Glover and Heather Stanning have won the #1stgold medal for Team GB. Here's to many more"
And CNN presenter and Brit Piers Morgan tweeted:
"BOOOOOM! First Gold for Britain... fantastic performance by Helen Glover & Heather Stanning! #TeamGB."
Pop producer and a judge on the U.K.'s X Factor show Louis Walsh leapt into action tweeting: "First Team GB Gold medal! Woman's Rowing! Retweet to show your congratulations!"
Meanwhile Ricky Gervais was at his sardonic best.
First came"Ha! We always win at Rowing," before he followed up with "sitting down, taking grip, and pulling away like mad. What us Brits excel at."
Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle, the bad boy of standup and an infamously rude commentator whose Channel 4 television sketch show Tramadol Nights garnered almost as many complaints as fans when it aired in 2010, put his own particular stamp on the celebrations.
"You don't care about rowing, you've never cared about rowing and this whole thing is an act of collective madness," he tweeted.
But noone could drown out the crowds and celebrations as the gold medal winners ended the host nation's wait for a taste of the ultimate Olympic precious metal.