Born on 17th of February 1989
(full name and title: Rebecca Adlington)
Born: February 17, 1989
At the beginning of August 2008, few people in Britain, let alone the rest of the world knew the name of Rebecca Adlington. One month later her name and photographs had been front page news in every newspaper in Britain and she had stunned the world with her astounding breakthrough at the Beijing Olympics.
Prior to the Beijing Olympics, Britain had been improving in swimming events and had high hopes of winning some medals. Few could have foreseen that Britain would have taken even one gold! Britain had not won a swimming gold for either gender for 20 years and no woman had taken gold in the pool for Britain since Anita Lonsbrough won gold in 1960; 48 years earlier!
Adlington was widely tipped to take medals, hopefully in both the 400m and 800m freestyle events. She was rested after the heats, instead of entering the 4 x 200m freestyle relay; unfortunately, the squad did not qualify for the relay final where Adlington would probably have raced. In the 400m final she took gold with a new Commonwealth record and looked a solid contender for a medal in the 800m. She stormed through the heats in the 800m breaking all records but the 19 year old world record. She completely broke the wills of the other contestants by storming out ahead in the final. Fears that she may run out of steam in the latter stages came to nothing as she took victory and two seconds off the long-standing world record. Taking one gold would have ensured her pride of place in British sporting history but two gold medals turned her instantly into a national hero.
Adlington's triumphs in China haven't gone unnoticed back home in England. The Sherwood Swimming Baths in Adlington's home town of Mansfield, where she started swimming at the age of four, was renamed the Rebecca Adlington Swimming Centre.
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