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16 Sep 2000
Sydney 2000

Queally crowns remarkable recovery in time trial

Great Britain's athletes had not done well in Atlanta four years earlier, returning home with just one gold medal between them.

In Sydney, though, that total was matched on the first day of competition thanks to a shock victory by Jason Queally in the 1km time trial.

Queally himself hadn't expected to win. He had told friends that he thought he had a chance of getting a bronze, which would have delighted him because he only took up track cycling at the age of 25.

It was a remarkable ascent for an athlete who had nearly died following a crash in his early years of training, when a 50cm sliver of wood punctured his chest. It required 70 stitches and a year of recovery to heal him. That could easily have discouraged him from getting back on his bike – instead, he trained ever harder in pursuit of success.

Queally was the 13th of 16 riders to set off on the four-lap blast round the track and finished in 1 minute 1.609 seconds. He looked at the time and was briefly confused – it was 1.5 seconds faster than he had ever gone before and Queally simply didn't think that was his time on the scoreboard. But slowly the truth dawned that, on the biggest stage of all, he had produced the best performance of his career. His time was new Olympic record.

He then had to sit back and watch the remaining competitors try to knock him off top spot. Home favourite Shane Kelly was ahead of him in the early stages but couldn't keep up the pace. Nor could France's Arnaud Tournant, the world record holder. Queally had produced one of the most surprising victories of the whole Games.

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