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Emotional messages from Olympic heroine for fans
Proud as punch – that was the over-riding emotion felt following Lizzie Armitstead’s fantastic silver medal win in the Olympics.
Winning Team GB’s first medal of London 2012 Games marked the pinnacle of an amazing cycling career that only began when Lizzie was talent-spotted at Prince Henry’s Grammar School as a teenager in 2004.
The talented 23-year-old posted several emotional messages on Twitter after the thrilling race, in which she was just pipped to the post for gold.
She said: “Thank you to the thousands of people cheering who literally got me to the finish line – I’m incredibly proud of Team GB!”
She added: “To my friends and family, who travelled from Otley, you deserve a piece of the medal! I have so many thank-yous to make!”
Obviously still on a high from her success, she later tweeted: “I can’t sleep! I want to give every person who watched in the rain a hug! Thank you! Soaking up the Olympic atmosphere now without nerves!”
Other high-profile tweeters were also quick to publicly hail her achievement. Team GB men’s cyclist Mark Cavendish said: “Nice aggressive ride by @L_ArmiTstead yesterday in the women’s road race to get a silver medal. Maybe I should ask her for some tips...”.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson posted: “First medal for Team GB! Congratulations @L_ArmiTstead on her splendid silver.”
Lizzie’s brother, Nick, travelled to watch the race with their mother, Carol, father, John, and sister, Kate. Nick said: “She did amazingly well. She was clearly one of the strongest ones – it was just that another cyclist was a bit stronger.
“We are very proud of Lizzie. We were proud she was an Olympian, and now she has won a medal, it is amazing. I knew if the race went to plan, she was capable of winning it, and I am not surprised she got a medal.”
Lizzie’s mother, Carol, said she was “so proud” of her daughter.
Lizzie’s grandparents, Marjorie and Ray Dunn, were also there to cheer her to the line, with Mrs Dunn sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with the words ‘I’m Lizzie’s Grandma’.
She said: “A grand-daughter who is an Olympian is something very, very special. I know she has done her best. When she was cycling, she had a smile on her face.
“She enjoyed that race. It showed in her body, the way she moved. She is so professional, and that is another side of Lizzie that I admire.”
A tearful Ray added: “I was disappointed and delighted – I knew she wanted the gold. I am tearful, I am delighted.”
Other cycling and sporting enthusiasts from Wharfedale also travelled to London to cheer her on. Businessman and cycling fan Paul Hancock even customised some Union flags with ‘Go Lizzie!’ and ‘Otley’ signs.
Paul said: “We were on the slopes of Box Hill for the women’s race, and there was an absolutely fantastic atmosphere.
“We were staying with some friends and I’d brought the flags, but it was their daughter, Elana, who put the letters on for us to spell out the ‘Lizzie’ and ‘Otley’ messages.
“We also drew big chalk signs of support on the road, like they do in the Tour de France.
“We were all jumping up and down and cheering at the end, and there was mixed emotions because a gold would have been unbelievable, but Lizzie did brilliantly to take the silver.”
l See this week’s sports pages for further Olympic glory coverage.