Olympic Gold galore for Yorkshire at London 2012
PUBLISHED: 18:19 28 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:48 20 February 2013
Yorkshire showcased its sporting talent to the world. Chris Titley reports
They called it London 2012. But by the end, everyone knew it was the Yorkshire Olympics. In the years and months running up to the games, organisers and MPs went blue in the face trying to persuade an indifferent Yorkshire public that this was a national event, despite being held 200 miles away.
We just shrugged. And then, when the hype had blown itself out and the sport began, Yorkshire went down south and stormed it.
It started and ended with a Yorkshireman of course. Sheffield schoolboy, Hallamshire Harrier and Olympic gold medallist Lord Coe brought the games to Britain, and closed them with a simple truth: When our time came, we did it right.
Sixteen days earlier the opening ceremony had plenty of Yorkshire references to prepare us for what lay ahead. Arctic Monkeys blasted the stadium with a burst of high-octane Sheffield energy. York composer John Barrys iconic Bond brass fanfare heralded everyones favourite moment as 007 and the Queen skydived in.
And then there was the cauldron.
The image of 204 copper petals lit by the seven young torch bearers, rising to create one Olympic flame, drew a gasp that could be heard around the world. And it was made in Yorkshire. Thomas Heatherwicks astonishing design was realised by the technicians and craftsmen at Stage One at their workshop in Tockwith near York.
So the blue touchpaper was lit on the Yorkshire Olympiad. Naturally, Team GBs first medal was won by one of ours: a silver for Otleys own Lizzie Armistead in the cycling road race, clinched on a rain-drenched Mall.
That began a torrent of precious metal. Yorkshire athletes won no fewer than seven gold, two silver and three bronze medals, a total which if the region were declared an autonomous state surely now only a matter of time would have placed Yorkshire 12th in the medal table, ahead of the Netherlands, New Zealand, Jamaica and Spain.
So many cheers and tears along the way. Waves of both relief and joy greeted Jessica Enniss gold in the heptathlon. Another Sheffield star how apt its City of Sport title Ennis was the poster girl for the games, appearing on countless magazine covers long before the starting pistol fired.
Any fears that she might crumble under the pressure soon disappeared. Eighty thousand people in the stadium, and millions more at home, cheered her over the line in her last event, the 800m, which confirmed not only that she had won gold but smashed the opposition out of sight.
And what about the Brownlee brothers? Leedss iron men brought double glory to their village of Bramhope, older sibling Alistair taking gold, Jonathan bronze in the triathlon. Jonny collapsed after the 1,500m swim, 43km bike race and 10km run, but recovered quickly. Yorkshiremenre made of strong stuff.
The golds kept on coming. Barnsley-born Huddersfield Town fan Ed Clancy was victorious in the team pursuit cycling, adding a bronze medal two days later in the mens omnium.
Katherine Copeland, who learned to row at Yarm School, won the lightweight womens double sculls with Sophie Hosking. Also in the water, Hebdens Andy Triggs Hodge repelled an Austrialian threat to take gold in the coxless four.
Two boxers complete Yorkshires golden summer. Nicola Adams made history by becoming the first female boxing Olympic champion. To be taking the gold medal back to Leeds will be special, she said.
And on the final weekend Luke Campbell won the mens bantamweight crown, excitedly tweeting Im so proud to be from Hull.
Our other medallists were Nicola Wilson from Northallerton, who took silver in equestrians team eventing, and York rower Tom Ransley, clinching bronze in the mens eight.
With Kaiser Chiefs from Leeds and one fifth of the Spice Girls among Yorkshires representatives in the closing ceremony, the region celebrated being the 12th most decorated Olympic nation. And theres only one word for that.
Our winners tweet their thanks
@J_Ennis I cant thank everyone enough for the support they have given me over the past few weeks!Im blown away! Cant believe Im Olympic Champion!
@L_ArmiTstead Incredible! We have a full podium of medals just from Otley and bramhope!! Well done Ali and Johnny! Keep them coming GB!
@AliBrownleetri A truly inspiring day. Thanks to everyone who cheered wherever
@jonny_brownlee Wow! What a triathlon today. Great support and great race. I am so happy with my olympic bronze medal!! #teamgb
@Ed_Clancy Well Im not sure itll ever get any better than that! Home olympic gold! Thankyou soo much to EVERYONE thats helped us along our journey!