England expects as the Olympics move closer

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Olympic champion sprint cyclist Victoria Pendleton is strongly favoured a to defend her crown at the 2012 London Olympics.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Olympic champion sprint cyclist Victoria Pendleton is strongly favoured a to defend her crown at the 2012 London Olympics.
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AS THE new year celebrations die down, the anticipation of the greatest sporting spectacle coming to the nation’s capital increases, writes Sam Murley.

The expectation on home-grown athletes in this summer’s Olympics and Paralympic Games will be greater than ever and none more so than cycling golden girl and Mildenhall Cycling Club’s Victoria Pendleton, who is strongly tipped and expected to defend her Olympic sprint crown from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Despite her experience of medal glory, the 31-year-old, who is considering retirement after the games, is fearful of not repeating her success in front of a home crowd as she aims to go out on a blaze of Olympic glory.

“What happens in London will define the rest of my life,” she said, speaking to a national newspaper this week. “London isn’t just any old Olympics; it’s the most important of all Olympic Games for British athletes, more people will be watching in Britain than ever before.

“My mum is always telling me, ‘you are an Olympic champion and nobody can take that away from you.

“Yet it still feels that nothing else you have ever done matters. Only what happens at the London Olympics will truly matter.”

Other Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls from and linked to the surrounding area hoping to do us proud, include:

Sharon Hunt, equestrian, from Bury St Edmunds, Ross Edgar, formerly of Ousden, near Newmarket, cycling, Josh Tonna, of Bury St Edmunds, rowing, Chris Walker-Hebborn, of Bury St Edmunds, swimming, Angie Alstrachen, of Bury St Edmunds, race walker, Brian Alldis, of Bury St Edmunds, hand cycling, Tim Page, equestrian, from Bury St Edmunds.

n Your Free Press sport will be providing you with all the best in-depth local features on London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls right up until and including the Games itself, so make us your number one Olympic paper.