London Track and Field Round Up: Great Britain Dominates At Home
Both rounds of the Games in London featured exhilarating track and field performances. Oakley athletes of all kinds succeeded during the second round of competition (especially those from the host nation).
Richard Whitehead of Great Britain shined brightly in front of his home crowd of 80,000 people. Whitehead took top billing in the T42 200m race. His time of 24.38 was also a new world record. The 36-year-old double amputee was the only athlete to begin from a standing position and even slipped at the start. He came from behind to take the title, breaking his own world record in the meantime. Celebrating in grand fashion, flexing his biceps across the finish line, Whitehead got the home crowd to erupt in a frenzy.
“Today I came and saw and conquered,” Whitehead said. “That’s why I gave the two-gun salute at the end.”
In the T12 100m women’s race, Libby Clegg of Great Britain gave a valiant second place performance on her home track. Clegg has a congenital eye condition called Stargardt’s macular dystrophy disease. She has only slight peripheral vision in her left eye and is registered blind. As a result, she runs with a guide, Mikail Huggins.
“You have to be completely in synch and get the start absolutely right," she says of her partnership with Huggins. “We’re kind of a team — wherever I go, he goes.”
Clegg’s brother, James, who has the same condition, was also competing in London. The siblings’ family and Libby’s boyfriend, sprinted from the pool where James took third place in the S12 100m butterfly, to see Libby place second in her race.
Finally, in the F42/44 long jump event, Stef Reid also claimed a second place prize for the host nation. The 27-year-old jumped a lifetime best mark of 5.28 meters to place second in London. The jump also stood as a Games record for the F44 classification.
“There is something to be said for putting your heart and soul into it,” Reid stated. “It’s a fabulous feeling to know you have given it everything you can. I’ll be ready to fight again next time.”
It was a great showing track and field during competition in London. Congratulations to all the Brits who performed at the highest stage in front of their countrymen and women.