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Page last updated at 12:27 GMT, Monday, 11 August 2008 13:27 UK

Davies hails inspirational Cooke

Video - Cooke wins first GB gold medal

By Peter Shuttleworth

David Davies hails cycling's Olympic golden girl Nicole Cooke as an inspiration for Team GB.

The Olympic swim ace is desperate for a gold of his own after watching fellow Welsh star Cooke's road race heroics.

Davies said: "Nicole won Wales' first Olympic gold since 1972 and continues Wales' amazing sporting year.

"I've watched Wales win rugby's Grand Slam, Cardiff City at an FA Cup final, Joe Calzaghe's fight in Vegas and now Nicole's gold - they're inspirational."

David Davies
The Welsh have shown they are big-game players

David Davies
Cooke's Olympic glory in Beijing maintains a glorious 2008 for Welsh sport where once-in-a-generation occasions have been the norm rather than the exception.

Cooke's gold medal on Sunday - Wales' first since Richard Meade's equestrian double 36 years ago - was Team GB's first at the 2008 Beijing Games.

The 25-year-old double World Cup champion's achievement was quickly followed by swim star Rebecca Adlington 400m freestyle gold in the pool on Monday.

"Nicole's an inspiration to the whole of Team GB," 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Davies told BBC Sport.

"And it's great to see a fellow Welshie do it, we haven't one an Olympic gold for a while so it was a long time in coming!

"I'm proud of her and I'm sure the whole of Wales is too as it is so tough to even qualify for an Olympics, let alone win a gold medal.

"We're only a little country but, nevertheless Wales is a proud sporting nation that does punch above its weight on the international stage.

"But as a country we've set high standards and the different sports buzz off each other's success - and I want to live up to those standards.

"I've talked about Wales' good year with my team-mates and it's nothing to do with coincidence and fate.

Captain Ryan Jones leads Wales' Grand Slam victory celebrations
Mark Webster, BDO world darts champion
Welsh rugby, Grand Slam
Joe Calzaghe, beats Bernard Hopkins
Ryan Giggs, tenth league title
Sam Thomas, Cheltenham Gold Cup champion
Geraint Thomas, world track champion
Swansea City, League One champions
The Ospreys, EDF Trophy champions
Cardiff City, FA Cup finalists
Nicole Cooke, Olympic gold winner

"Our success is because talented athletes work hard, are dedicated, determined, have the right attitude and live a professional lifestyle. And the Welsh have shown they are big-game players."

Commonwealth 1,500m freestyle swimming champion Davies hopes Cooke's win sparks a gold rush for Britain in Beijing.

"The great news about Nicole's victory spread through the Great Britain team like wildfire," said Davies.

"Everyone was elated. It instantly gave the team a little confidence-booster.

"Success breeds success and I'm so pleased and proud because Nicole's a local girl, she only lives ten minutes down the road from my house in Barry.

"I've known her for ages and know how hard she has worked for this achievement and I'm a pleased because she was so gutted when she didn't win a medal in Athens.

"Her and Rebecca's gold have certainly whet the appetite - I want one for myself."

Davies shocked the world when as a teenager, he broke the European record to win Olympic bronze on his big-stage debut at the 2004 Athens Games.

He pushed Aussie great Grant Hackett to break the Olympic record and the 23-year-old will start his pool assault in Friday's heat (1155 BST).

see also
Olympic road race glory for Cooke
10 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Olympic great Davies hails Cooke
10 Aug 08 |  Cycling
Davies welcomes dual Beijing test
10 May 08 |  Swimming
Enter the sporting Dragon
16 May 08 |  Wales
Wales' Davies claims gold in pool
21 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Davies earns 1500m bronze
21 Aug 04 |  Swimming

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