All hail Vicky Holland: the British triathlete who brought home the first ever British Olympic medal for women’s triathlon.
I can tell you for one thing that she absolutely deserves that medal. It was an amazing performance from her and her teammate, Non Stanford.
The crowd was roaring; I couldn’t even hear my own voice in the crowd. Four years ago, in Rio de Janeiro, I wasn’t into triathlon much and I mostly did cross country running but this was something else. I could feel myself inside her thinking about what was going to happen. My heart beating so fast I thought it was going to burst out my body; but I had to keep my cool. This could change my life forever. “Oh, stop daydreaming!” I said to myself and I switched back to reality.
Everywhere I looked all I could see was sun, sand and sea. It was incredible. I was standing in the crowd at The Olympics. The race was about to start and I looked up at the competitors standing in a line with their swimming costumes and tri-suits on. I was so excited and the horn hadn’t even gone.
The next thing I knew, all the athletes were running down the golden beach and into the sea at an immense speed, all wanting to get to the front. They were off. Off on an Olympic roller-coaster of a 1.5km swim followed by a gruelling 40km bike as well as a 10km run. All I wanted to do now was get to the transition area before they did!
When I got there all the bikes were lined up perfectly waiting to be ridden. I spotted the first competitor running into transition: Carolina Routier. I could almost imagine what was going through her head: What if it goes wrong? What if my chain comes off?
So much was happening as a wave of triathletes filled the area. I spotted Vicky Holland and as soon as I saw her I knew I wanted her to win. She wasn’t in the top three but I still had a good feeling about this race. I knew that no British woman had ever brought home an Olympic medal for triathlon. Could she be the first to do that? As Vicky and Non set off on their bike they were in the top 18 but I still had a good feeling about this race.
The bike was amazing. I didn’t see them for long but it was incredibly fast. I know now how good it feels to be in a race and be near the front. It’s the best feeling in the world.
At last, it was the moment I had been waiting for the whole time I was in Rio. It was the run. The last leg. The sprint finish. Vicky and Non were running together and I realised that they were taking the 3rd and 4th spot. I couldn’t tell who was in for a medal but I knew that they needed to sprint.
My heart was on fire. It was so intense; they were both fighting for the medal despite the fact that they looked absolutely exhausted. The first two athletes had already come in (Gwen Jorgenson taking the gold) and … an incredible sprint gave Vicky Holland the first ever British Olympic medal in women’s triathlon beating Non by just three seconds!
So there you have it; my story about how I watched Vicky Holland make Great British history.