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Page last updated at 09:22 GMT, Sunday, 17 August 2008 10:22 UK

Romero beats GB team-mate to gold

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Video - Romero wins pursuit gold

British cyclist Rebecca Romero beat her team-mate Wendy Houvenaghel to the Olympic gold medal in the women's 3000m individual pursuit final on Sunday.

Romero, who won a silver medal in the rowing in 2004 before switching sports, is the first British woman to win two medals in two summer Olympic sports.

The 28-year-old from Surrey, now based in Manchester, had too much pace as she won by more than two seconds.

The gold and silver take British cycling's medal haul up to 10.

Chris Boardman
Romero dominated the 12-lap race, finishing in a time of three minutes 28.321 seconds, with Houvenaghel, 33, crossing the line in 3:30.

With Olympic medals in two different sports on her CV, Romero called for the rest of British sport to study the success of the cycling squad in order to prepare for the 2012 London Olympics.

"I think the model should be replicated. I've been involved in two of the top sports and they're worlds apart," said Romero.

"British sport should look at the success we've had and model it. And if other British sports don't learn from us - because we are Team GB, not just British cycling - we're not going to dominate at the London games.

"Putting athletes at the top and letting us take responsibility for our own performances and having the back-up behind us is the way forward.

"I had to earn their respect by getting results."

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Video - Romero ecstatic with 'magical' gold

Romero made her track cycling debut just two years ago, but her progress has been remarkable since a back injury prompted her to quit rowing.

She was an immediate success in the sport, taking a silver medal in the 2007 world championships before becoming world champion in 2008.

"To be an Olympic champion puts you on a different level to everyone else," she added.

"When you're one of the best athletes in the country it feels like you're good at something, but when you go and mix it up with 6,000 of the best athletes in the world you're nothing unless you become Olympic champion.

"It's pretty incredible. I'm so proud of myself. I wanted a gold. I wanted to be a champion. Now I've put my mark down to be remembered."

Houvenaghel, a former dental surgeon, was also a latecomer to the sport after taking it up at the age of 27 to keep her husband company on his training rides.

"I gave everything I had to push Rebecca all the way," she said. "I have done that, and I am very proud.

"To be standing on the podium at the Olympics is a great achievement.

"In the last six months I have done everything as meticulously as I could to get myself in the best possible position, and I have got a silver medal. I am really pleased."

In the bronze medal race, Ukraine's Lesya Kalitovska saw off the challenge of New Zealand's Alison Shanks to take the medal.

see also
Awesome GB sprint team take gold
15 Aug 08 |  Cycling
Britain win sculls silver
22 Aug 04 |  Rowing
Cycling on the BBC
28 Jul 08 |  Cycling

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