Women's Team Sprint

 

The first women’s Olympic Team sprint title was awarded to Germany, when World Champions Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel won the first gold medal of the 2012 games for their nation.

 

Germany Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel win Olympic Team Sprint

 

China looked set to take the top spot with Jinjie Gong and Shuang Guo fastest in qualifying – setting a new world Record of 32.422 - and fastest again in the first round heats.  They then appeared to win the gold medal final by some margin from Germany and were celebrating their win when the shock news came through that they had been relegated for an infringement of the rules at the changeover. 

 

The photo-finish on the pursuit line showed that Guo, the rider who came through to complete the second lap, had just got her wheel in front of her partner, Gong, before she had competed the first lap.  Their relegation promoted Germany to the win and a stunned Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel, who had just moments before been very happy with silver, took the top step of the podium to listen their national anthem being played for the first time at the London games.

 

It was a night of shock decisions.  The track cycling community has been looking for rules to be interpreted and enforced with greater consistency and confidence for some time and they got their first taste of that at the Melbourne World Championships.  By the end of the first round of the very first event at these Olympics, the GB team of Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish were on the receiving end of a firm but fair decision that removed them from the competition, after they believed they had qualified to ride the gold medal ride off.

 

Their crime was also in connection with the change over and after much consulting of the video footage, the relegation was announced to boos from the home crowd.

 

“We have never had an illegal change, so we weren't really thinking about it,” Victoria told the BBC after the announcement. “It's just one of those things that happened. We were probably just a bit too eager and excited for a ride.

 

"Now and again rubbish things happen and this is one of those days,” she said with remarkable maturity. “The only positives I can take is that I know I am in really good form because that was the fastest second lap I have done. I just need to get my head down and concentrate on the races to come."

 

In fact the German team benefited from both decisions.  The relegation of the GB team promoted them to the gold medal ride off, when previously the best they could ride for was bronze against the Australians.  The second decision moved them from silver to gold, after the Chinese team posted a faster time in the gold medal final, but were later relegated for changeover infringement.

 

The other team to benefit from the very strict interpretation of the rules were the Australians, who had a relatively easy race for the bronze medal against the GB’s first round opponents, the Ukrainian team.  The Ukrainians progressed after GB’s relegation, even though they were only the seventh fastest qualifiers.

 

For details of format of this event see our preview here

 

Results:

Medal Finals

Gold medal round
1 Germany 0:00:32.798  
  Kristina Vogel    
  Miriam Welte    
2 China REL  
  Gong Jinjie    
  Guo Shuang    
Bronze medal round
3 Australia 0:00:32.727  
  Kaarle McCulloch    
  Anna Meares    
4 Ukraine 0:00:33.491  
  Lyubov Shulika    
  Olena Tsyos  

 

Round 1

Round 1: Heat 1
1 Australia 0:00:32.806  
  Kaarle McCulloch    
  Anna Meares    
2 Netherlands 0:00:33.090  
  Yvonne Hijgenaar    
  Willy Kanis    
Round 1: Heat 2
1 Germany 0:00:32.701  
  Kristina Vogel    
  Miriam Welte    
2 France 0:00:33.707  
  Sandie Clair    
  Virginie Cueff    
Round 1: Heat 3
1 Ukraine 0:00:33.620  
  Lyubov Shulika    
  Olena Tsyos    
2 Great Britain REL  
  Victoria Pendleton    
  Jessica Varnish    
Round 1: Heat 4
1 China 0:00:32.422  
  Gong Jinjie    
  Guo Shuang    
2 Venezuela 0:00:34.415  
  Daniela Grelui Larreal    
  Mariaesthela Vilera

 

Qualifying

1 China 0:00:32.447  
  Gong Jinjie    
  Guo Shuang    
2 Great Britain 0:00:32.526  
  Victoria Pendleton    
  Jessica Varnish    
3 Germany 0:00:32.630  
  Kristina Vogel    
  Miriam Welte    
4 Australia 0:00:32.825  
  Kaarle McCulloch    
  Anna Meares    
5 Netherlands 0:00:33.253  
  Yvonne Hijgenaar    
  Willy Kanis    
6 France 0:00:33.638  
  Sandie Clair    
  Virginie Cueff    
7 Ukraine 0:00:33.708  
  Lyubov Shulika    
  Olena Tsyos    
8 Venezuela 0:00:34.320  
  Daniela Grelui Larreal    
  Mariaesthela Vilera    
9 Korea 0:00:34.636  
  Lee Eun Ji    
  Lee Hyejin    
10 Colombia 0:00:34.870  
  Diana Maria Garcia Orrego    
  Juliana Gaviria Rendon

 

 

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