Great Britain
TeamGreat Britain
Olympic Medals
Games Participations2
First Olympic GamesBeijing 2008
Year of Birth1989


After winning the British championships and finishing second in the European Championships in 2006 much was expected of Rebecca Adlington at the 2007 World Championships. However she left the pool in tears having failed even to reach the final of the 800 freestyle. She started 2008 by setting a new British 800 metre record at the Olympic trials and arrived at Beijing as one of the favourites for that event. The events of the Olympic 400 free were wholly unexpected however. After qualifying second for the final, Adlington was still a distant fifth as the field approached the final turn but put in a sprint finish that overhauled leader Katie Hoff of the USA in the closing few metres and she became the first female British Olympic swimming champion since Anita Lonsbrough in 1960. Even more impressive was her swim in the 800 freestyle where she broke [Janet Evans]’ longest standing world record on her way to her second gold of the Games. This was the first time for a century that a British swimmer had won more than one gold medal at an Olympic Games, when Henry Taylor won two golds in 1908. In the aftermath of her new found celebrity Adlington struggled to cope and her performances dipped in 2009 when she left the World Championships with only a pair of bronze medals. She posted a mixed set of results at the 2010 European Championships where, after finishing way back in seventh in her favoured 800 metres, she returned to her best form by winning the 400. This seemed to rekindle her career and, after winning the 400/800 double at the Commonwealth Games, she took her first world long course title when she won the 800 freestyle in 2011. Unfortunately, on home soil at the 2012 Olympics, she could not repeat her Beijing exploits and only returned with two bronze medals. Between 2008-11, Adlington won six ASA titles at 200, 400 and 800 metres freestyle. Swimming competitively since the age of nine, she was awarded the OBE in 2009 when aged just 20. She retired in February 2013 and set up her “Rebecca Adlington Swim Stars” programme aimed at helping youngsters take up swimming. She was also in demand as an after-dinner speaker, and television celebrity.


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