On this day in 2008: Rebecca Adlington wins Olympic gold in Beijing

Rebecca Adlington won the Olympic 400m freestyle on this day in 2008, becoming the first British gold medalist in swimming in 48 years.

The 19-year-old from Mansfield became the first woman since Anita Lonsbrough in 1960 to top the podium with her superb performance in the pool.

Adlington took gold ahead of American Katie Hoff in a thrilling fingertip finish in Beijing, winning by 0.07 seconds in a time of four minutes and 3.22 seconds.

Teammate Joanne Jackson took bronze and the pair became the first British woman to win an Olympic medal since Sarah Hardcastle in Los Angeles in 1984.

“We’re both so lucky to have two British girls on the podium,” Adlington said after the pair’s exploits. “I don’t think any of us expected it, and especially gold and bronze, that’s absolutely amazing.

“I actually can’t believe it. It has not arrived yet. I’m over the moon right now. I just saw it again on TV and said, “I didn’t win that.” Then they showed the underwater shot and my hand just got there.

“I can’t believe I’ve won an Olympic medal and having Jo there has been absolutely fantastic. I was just so happy to be on the podium with my best friend, I love Jo more than anything.

“She’s so close to me that it was so amazing to be up there with her and see the whole team looking down at you and hearing her sing the national anthem and not in unison at all!”

Adlington would end up leaving China with another gold medal, breaking the oldest world record in swimming in the process.

The teenager completed the distance doubles at Beijing’s Water Cube with a brilliant swim in the 800m freestyle, leaving the competition more than six seconds behind.

Adlington took gold by breaking Janet Evans’ long-standing world record for the event – a mark of eight minutes 16.22 seconds set at the 1989 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo and widely regarded as one of the greatest ever set in swimming records applies.

However, Adlington squandered it, setting a time of 8:14.10, 2.12 seconds faster than Evans’ time and well ahead of second-place finisher Alessia Filippa of Italy and Danish bronze medalist Lotte Friss.

Zack Zwiezen

Zack Zwiezen is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Zack Zwiezen joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing zackzwiezen@ustimespost.com.

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