Great Britain’s Laura Trott underlined her status as the best all-round female track cyclist in the world as she completed a successful defence of her women’s omnium title, while Kristina Vogel of Germany saw off two other Britons for gold in the women’s sprint.
Trott won her fourth Olympic gold medal with a masterful ride in the omnium on 16 August – winning three of the six races and leaving her rivals scrapping for podium places. On day one of the event she was victorious in the individual pursuit and elimination race, and she was also quickest on the penultimate challenge, the flying lap, meaning she went into the points race 24 points clear.
The defending London 2012 champion, who had already led the British women to the gold in the team pursuit, held a commanding lead going into the points race, the sixth and final discipline of the omnium.
As the 24-year-old ticked off the 100 laps without incident, picking up early sprint points to give herself an extra cushion, the real battle soon became for silver between American veteran Sarah Hammer and Belgium's Jolien D'Hoore.
After a fascinating duel, it was London 2012 silver medallist Hammer who again finished runner-up, leaving D'Hoore to settle for bronze.
"I can't believe I've got four [golds]," said Trott, fighting back the tears. “I didn't expect that at all, that it all came together… I still feel like that little girl just riding around on a bike, but now I have all these gold medals.
“I’m so proud at what I achieved. I cannot thank the people in the background enough. To come back and win the omnium, it's just incredible. You realise how hard it is to do it all again. It was so hard to build myself up and come back again.”
Hammer was thrilled to win another silver in what she says was her final Olympic competition. “I am so excited, and you always want to get a medal,” said the American. “Over six events, anything can happen. I am so thankful that everything went into play. There is nothing I could have done better. I am very proud of myself, and my team.”
Vogel loses saddle but not winning spirit
Indomitable German speed specialist Kristina Vogel finished the individual track sprint final with her bike no longer intact but still managed to produce a phenomenal gold-medal winning display.
The 25-year-old Vogel, twice the world champion and winner of the team sprint gold at London 2012 faced Great Britain’s Rebecca James in the final. The German made the first move in both heats, and held off her opponent on both occasions.
However, in the second heat, while Vogel was at full throttle trying to keep James at bay, her saddle came away from the seat post and fell onto the track metres from the finish. Somehow – in an event where fractions of a second count - she still managed to cross the line first, sparking emotional celebrations.
“I lost it on the last metre, it was crazy,” said Vogel, who in 2009 had to fight back from a coma to return to the sport following a training accident. “I was struggling not to crash. I just tried not to fall because at that speed [60km/hour] you can't stand on the pedals you have to sit."
James, who also took silver in her main event the keirin, said that doubling her tally in the sprint was an unexpected bonus. "If someone told me a few weeks ago I would come home with two silver medals, I would have taken it,” she reflected, while her team-mate Katy Marchant, who edged keirin champion Elis Ligtlee of the Netherlands for third place, added: “To walk away with a bronze, I couldn't be happier. To share the podium with Becky [James] is just incredible.”