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Becs bags bronze as teen steals spotlight.

Byline: MARTIN FRICKER

REBECCA Adlington lost her bid to become our greatest female Olympian last night - but did herself proud by winning bronze.

The swimmer, 23, was aiming to be the first British woman to win three golds.

But she was unable to add to the two she won in Beijing four years ago as she was beaten by 15-year-old American sensation Katie Ledecky in the 800m freestyle.

Ledecky was uncatchable as she thrashed the field by an astonishing four seconds, and her own heat time by nine seconds.

Becky said afterwards: "The expectation has been a battle going into this meeting. I'd have liked the time to have been quicker. I gave it absolutely everything." Adlington was roared on by 15,000 adoring fans and millions more across the UK.

Speaking on the BBC later she told how she was thrilled to compete in front of such a huge home crowd, saying: "I've only ever competed in front of 3,000 people in a home crowd, so to have that, it's just been absolutely incredible."

The Mansfield star was also yesterday aiming to become the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title.

But despite the home spectators' deafening wall of noise, it was not to be for Adlington. Spaniard Mireia Garcia took silver.

Clearly moved by the crowd, she burst into tears as she collected her bronze - her second of London 2012.

Her boyfriend Harry Needs, 20, tweeted: "Isn't @BeckAdlington just marvellous?"

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 4, 2012
Words:252
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