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Weir storms to fourth gold

9th September 2012, 03:11pm

David Weir seals his fourth gold medal

David Weir seals his fourth gold medal

David Weir made it a fantastic four gold medals at London 2012 by racing to an imperious T54 marathon victory on The Mall.

The 'Weirwolf', released on to the sunny streets of the capital after a week of track domination, timed his sprint finish to perfection to take the title in one hour 30.20 minutes.

With thousands of people lining the route to cheer him on, the home favourite was in a leading group of six racers which broke away early on, content to sit just off the front.

Weir was second behind Switzerland's Marcel Hug in a leading pack of three, also including Australian defending champion Kurt Fearnley with three miles to go.

The 33-year-old came into view of the finishing straight in the lead and pulled away from his rivals to complete a glorious end to a spectacular week.

Victory gave the British wheelchair racing champion a clean sweep of four gold medals after earlier winning the T54 800, 1500 and 5,000 metres titles.

"It's a dream come true," Weir told Channel 4. "Obviously I dreamt about winning all my races but it was going to be a tough order. I really had to dig deep.

"I did have lots of dreams of winning four gold medals but I think everybody has those dreams. I knew I was capable of doing it.

"The reason I say I only want one gold is because I don't want to put myself under pressure. I want to go into every race not feeling pressured.

"To tell you the truth, every race I did in that stadium I didn't feel under pressure because the crowd was behind you if you won, lost or anything.

"It didn't matter what position you came in, they were still behind you and they still loved you."

Weir added on Channel 4: "I didn't even know where the finishing line was. That's why I didn't celebrate. There's two lines: the start line and the finishing line. Usually we have a tape, so I was carrying on through.

"If I looked a little bit moody across the line it's because I didn't know where the line was. I didn't know how close they were so I just had to carry on pushing."

Shelly Woods added to the final-day success for the hosts when she took silver in the women's equivalent race.

Coming into the home straight in a breakaway group of four, she held off Sandra Graf of Switzerland, who took bronze, and Amanda McGrory of the United States to claim her first medal of the Games at the last attempt.

American Shirley Reilly had just too much for Woods to catch and won in 1hr 46mins 33secs, a second ahead of the Briton.

Woods' silver meant Britain would have to settle for third place in the overall medals table behind China and Russia.

Woods told Channel 4: "I can't describe how great it feels. That was such a hard race, probably the hardest marathon I've done in my life.

"It's been such a tough week physically and mentally but I still had the speed for the finish in the marathon.

"To sprint after 26 miles, it hurts. It hurt like crazy but I wanted it so bad and all the hurt is worth it now.

"I was fourth in marathon in Beijing and silver in the marathon in London is great, it's just amazing."

Of her race tactics, Woods said: "I tried to make a break but it didn't work for me. I didn't feel strong enough to break away so I switched tactics to sit back and wait and see what I could do at the finish.

"Throughout the whole course all I could hear was 'go on Shelly'. When you needed it the most you could hear their support. They were lined all along the way. It was amazing. The crowds have made these Paralympic Games.''

Woods was delighted to hear that Weir had won his fourth gold of the Games.

"I wanted David to win and I had ever faith in him,'' she said. ''I've looked up to him all these years.

"For him to win his fourth gold medal, he's the greatest wheelchair racer of

all time."

London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe was thrilled with Weir's win.

He said: "He has just had a majestic Games. He is a phenomenal athlete.

"Britain did not manage to win on the road on the first day of the Games (Mark Cavendish in the Olympic road race) but I am very happy that David managed to win for us on the road on the last day."

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