COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Olympic heartbreak all in the past for golden girl Jazz (From This Is Wiltshire)
COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Olympic heartbreak all in the past for golden girl Jazz
TWO years ago Jazmin Carlin tearfully watched the London 2012 Olympics unfold form her sofa, dreaming of what might have been.
But last night there was gold medal redemption at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
An untimely bout of glandular fever meant Carlin failed to qualify for the Olympics but she went some way to righting that wrong as she took 800m freestyle gold in a Games record 8:18.11 minutes.
She paced her race to perfection, swapping the lead with New Zealand's Lauren Boyle before surging clear in the decisive closing lengths.
It was a stellar performance of power distance swimming that had double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington - the former world record holder - standing in appreciation.
But Carlin - in a sign of a true competitor - claims she needs more. It was a fractionally quicker time than her performance at the British Championships but American world record holder Katie Ledecky remains the standard to aspire to - and she has gone seven seconds quicker this season.
“I put everything into my training this year to perform well on the day so I’m so happy to win the gold medal,” said Carlin, who finished two seconds clear of Boyle, while Canada's Brittany Maclean completed the podium.
“I knew it was going to be a tough race with a strong field including world championship medallists and Australian record holders.
“It’s slower than I wanted to go but it’s all about the race. Last year at the World Championships I got pipped on the last 50m, so this year I made an effort of making sure my last 100m was quicker than anyone in the pool.”
It's not been a Games to remember for Carlin's Welsh teammates. Two medal hopes were suspended for doping violations, another had his accreditation refused and others suffered injuries that ruled them out.
But if there is a curse of Wales here no-one told Carlin, whose gold medal made a bit of history too.
“I believe I’m the first Welsh woman in 40 years to win gold in the pool and I got emotional seeing the Welsh flag,” she added.
“My family are amazing – they’ve travelled to watch and my little cousins have ‘Go Jazz’ on their tops. The support has been overwhelming and it’s nice for them to be here to celebrate with me.”