PETER Kennaugh is the toast of a nation after becoming the first person in 100 years from the Isle of Man to claim an Olympic gold medal after helping Great Britain storm to victory in the men’s team pursuit at the 2012 London Olympics.
Here iomtoday celebrates his achievement with a slideshow of the event and the reception he received on returning to the island.
Not since Sulby-born Sidney Swann rowed to gold with the British men’s eights team at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Sweden has anyone from the Isle of Man graced the top step of the podium at the Olympics.
But the long wait was ended when 23-year-old Kennaugh from Onchan produced several stunning rides to help Britain claim another gold medal on the track.
Such was Team GB’s dominance in the event that the British quartet of Kennaugh, Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Geraint Thomas didn’t just win, they did it in style, breaking their own world record twice in three races on their way to defeating rivals Australia.
The quartet swept aside the opposition in Thursday’s qualifying and Friday’s first knockout round against Denmark to set up a head-to-head gold medal contest with Australia later that evening.
GB managed to open up a healthy lead in the early stages of the final but the Aussie quartet began to hit back towards the halfway point of the four-kilometre race and brought the advantage down to less than 0.2s.
However, roared on by a capacity crowd in good voice inside the London Velodrome, GB showed their class and produced several superb laps to comfortably clinch gold in another new world record time of three minutes, 51.659 seconds, nearly three seconds ahead of their rivals from Down Under.
Speaking shortly after arriving to an amazing reception at Ronaldsway Airport the following day, a clearly delighted Peter described the whole experience as ‘surreal’.
The cyclist spent more than an hour mingling with the many fans who turned up to welcome him home, signing autographs, patiently posing for photographs and even letting many of the younger, aspiring cyclists hold his medal, much to their obvious delight and awe.