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ESPN Podium: Armitstead's big gamble pays off

ESPN staff
July 29, 2012

Every day of the Olympics, we at ESPN Towers will award gold, silver and bronze medals to the top three moments. Here are our choices for Day Two...

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Results
Medal Table

Gold

In this case, silver was worth its weight in gold as Lizzie Armitstead claimed the first British medal at London 2012 with second place in the road race. After Mark Cavendish's heartbreak in the men's event on Saturday, Armitstead showed the supreme strength in depth in the GB cycling squad.

Like Cavendish, Armitstead was originally a track cyclist, and only decided last year to abandon her dream of winning gold in the velodrome and on the road as she turned her back on the track.

Remember the name Lizzie Armitstead, not least because she will pop up in pub quizzes forever more - the first British medalist at Britain's home Olympics.

Silver

Twelve years after Eric the Eel hit the headlines at the Sydney Games, Djibo Issaka won over the hearts of rowing fans at Eton Dorney as he took part in the single sculls.

The 35-year-old from Niger - a landlocked country which consists of nearly 80% desert - only learnt to row three months ago but was given a wildcard into the event. Urged on by the crowd, Issaka eventually crossed the line nearly a minute-and-a-half after winner Mindaugs Griskonis.

"There are many who want to start rowing in Niger now because I have come to the Olympics," Issaka said. "We are starting when I get back. We just have to wait for the boats to arrive."

Bronze

Michael Phelps had the Midas touch in Beijing winning a stunning eight gold medals, but he suffered his second defeat in as many days in the pool. Having finished outside the medals in the 400m individual medley, a dominant USA side were forced to settle for silver as they suffered a shock relay defeat to France.

In fairness to Phelps, he did everything in his power as he handed over to Cullen Jones in first place. But the decision to bring in Ryan Lochte at the expense of the sprint specialists who contested the heats proved costly as a superb final leg from Yannick Agnel overhauled Lochte to snatch gold for France.

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