Trott wins omnium gold medal
She's had a Beatle bow before her, and royalty seeking her time.
Not bad for a 20-year-old cyclist who didn't even like the sport when she first sat on a bike, and who as recently as two years ago couldn't imagine competing at the London Olympics.
Laura Trott captured her second gold medal Tuesday with a withering ride in the final event of the multidiscipline omnium, overtaking Sarah Hammer of the United States by the slimmest of margins.
''I never thought I'd make it to 2012. Nobody did, really,'' Trott said with a smile. ''Even my dad was like, '2016.' I was like, 'That's so far away.'''
Trott helped the British pursuit team win gold earlier in the program, when Paul McCartney stood from his seat in the velodrome and playfully bowed down at her.
On Tuesday, it was one of the princes who wanted to congratulate her.
''Who?'' she asked, puzzled.
Told again over the noise that it was Prince William — even though it was actually Prince Harry at the velodrome — Trott went pale, and her jaw fell agape.
''He's here to meet me?'' she said, stunned.
Welcome to life in the spotlight.
Trott was trailing Hammer by two points heading into the last of six events in the omnium, the 500-meter time trial, which meant she had to finish at least three spots better to win gold.
Trott won the race in 35.110 seconds while Hammer finished fourth in 35.900 seconds, giving Britain its sixth track cycling gold. Chris Hoy added another moments later when he overcame a late charge from Germany's Maximilian Levy to defend his title in the keirin.
''I cannot believe this is happening to me,'' Trott said. ''I was losing my head a little bit between the events because they weren't going the way I wanted them to.''
The final event finally did.
Hammer added another a medal to the one she picked up behind Britain in the team pursuit, and Annette Edmondson of Australia finished second in the time trial to clinch bronze.
''The 500 is one of my harder events,'' Hammer said. ''I've been training for this moment for that last few years. I brought it. I brought it to the table. It just wasn't enough.''
The omnium, the newest event in the track cycling program, is similar to the heptathlon in track and field, or the individual medley in swimming. The six events are spread over two days, with riders receiving points equal to the position in which they finish each race. The rider with the fewest points wins.
Trott finished with 18 points. Hammer had 19 and Edmondson 24.
''My coaches really helped me to peak on time,'' Trott said. ''I couldn't ask for much more from the coaching staff. They've helped me improve so much since worlds.''
Trott and Hammer began the day tied with 12 points, but the British rider had shown a bit more speed during victories in the elimination race and flying lap on Monday.
The start of the second day of competition began with the 3,000-meter individual pursuit, which played right into the American's hands. The world record-holder in the event, Hammer roared to a time of 3:29.554, nearly a second faster than Trott, and moved into the overall lead.
Tara Whitten of Canada finished third to remain close heading into the 40-lap scratch race. Trott and Hammer spent the first 15 laps safely in the bunch, only for Hammer to steal away on the attack. Trott reacted, and the rest of the field quickly bunched back up.
With about four laps remaining, Hammer positioned herself right behind Trott, keeping a close eye on her closest competition. Hammer went to the front with two laps remaining, but Edmondson sneaked in front of her around the final corner to win the race, with Trott left sprinting for third.
That left Hammer with a two-point lead over Trott heading into the 500-meter time trial.
Two laps of the track to decide gold.
The far better sprinter, Trott covered the first 250 meters in 20.140 seconds, while Hammer managed only 20.828, their times generating a roar in the velodrome when they were posted.
Trott maintained her advantage over the second lap, and with the rest of the field already finished, the 20-year-old Trott anxiously looked up to see if she'd beaten Hammer by enough.
It turned out she had — just barely.
And now she has to make good on a promise she made to her sister, Emma.
''I promised her a car if I won both (medals),'' Trott said, ''so there goes the prize money.''