By Simon Richardson published
Bradley Wiggins today became Britain's most successful Olympic athlete ever, taking his seventh medal when he won the men's time trial around Hampton Court.
Wiggins beat Tony Martin of Germany by 42 seconds to secure his fourth gold medal since his Olympic debut in Sydney 2000. Fellow Briton Chris Froome won the bronze.
"To be mentioned in the same breath as Steve Redgrave and Chris is an honour as it is," he said. "But ultimately it's about gold medals really. Once you've been Olympic champion the other ones, you don't talk about them."
"When someone asks I normally say I've won three golds. You never say ‘and two silvers and a bronze'."
"There was only one colour today really. Anything else would have been consolation. It had to be one colour today. The most important thing is number four, not number seven."
Team pursuit, Sydney 2000
20 year old Bradley Wiggins was a member of the British team that made an enormous breakthrough at the Sydney Olympics, winning the bronze medal in a national record of 4:01.760. The time had tumbled down in the build up to the Games as the effect of lottery funding started to filter through
Individual pursuit, Athens 2004
Wiggins won his first gold medal by beating Bradley McGee of Australia in the individual pursuit. Wiggins had become IP world champion the year before after some soul searching in the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Here he was comprehensively beaten, on his home track, by McGee and had to sit down with his coach and decide what they were going to do next. They knuckled down and raised the bar of pursuing.
Team pursuit, Athens 2004
The British trio had continued to improve after Sydney, but only ever took small chunks of time off their results. They had won three silver and one bronze medal in the world championships since Sydney, but still never gone under the four minute barrier. The dominant Australian team had, and did so again in Athens, comfortably beating the British by three seconds in the final
Madison, Athens 2004
Wiggins paired with Rob Hayles in the Madison and took home his third medal of the Games, one of each colour. The race was won by the Aussies (they dominated in Athens) as Wiggins and Hayles hung on to their coat tails.
Individual pursuit, Beijing 2008
Wiggins was untouchable in the IP in Beijing. In training a month before he had reportedly gone quicker than the world record, but then came down with a virus that saw him unable to even lift himself out of his bed. He was considerably slower at the Games, but was still a comfortable winner.
Team pursuit, Beijing 2008
The British team pursuit quartet smashed the world record on their way to gold in Beijing. They had dominated at the world championships in the years before and carried that on to the Games. Wiggins was an integral part of that, taking time out from his road career to prepare specifically. He was, however, the slowest out of the foursome, tired from his IP efforts and the after-effects of that virus.
Road time trial, London 2012
Gold in London capped a season of performances that may never be seen again. Just ten days after becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France, Wiggins demolished the opposition in the Olympic time trial to win his seventh medal.
Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. In that time he has written product reviews, features and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. Once an aspiring bike racer himself, he can still be seen at his club's evening races through the summer.
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