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London Olympics: Sarah Hammer wins silver in women's omnium

August 07, 2012|By Stacy St. Clair
  • Sarah Hammer, center, of the U.S. competes in the women's omnium 10-kilometer scratch race.
Sarah Hammer, center, of the U.S. competes in the women's omnium 10-kilometer… (Clive Brunskill / Getty…)

LONDON — U.S. cyclist Sarah Hammer won the silver medal in the women's omnium Tuesday as a heavily British crowd celebrated its sixth cycling gold medal at these Games.

Hammer, of Temecula, lost to reigning world champion Laura Trott of Britain by one point in the six-race event, which is making its Olympic debut here. Leading by two points going into the final 500-meter time trial, Hammer finished fourth in the blistering race and ended up second overall.

Hammer, 30, is the first American woman to win a silver medal in an individual cycling event. She also won a silver medal in the team pursuit Saturday, making her the most-decorated female U.S. cyclist in Olympic history.

Often likened to the decathlon of cycling, the omnium blends a mix of endurance and sprint events over two days.

Britain has won six of eight cycling gold medals at the Velodrome, solidifying its position as the sport's powerhouse nation.

Hammer finished fifth at the Beijing Games in the 3K individual pursuit, an event which has been discontinued. She also made headlines in 2008 when she and her teammates arrived in China wearing masks to filter the city's polluted air.

The U.S. Olympic Committee, which issued the masks to the athletes, made Hammer and her teammates apologize for insulting the host country at a hastily arranged press conference. The USOC later issued apologies to the cyclists, but the entire experience — including a broken collar bone from a track collision that knocked her out of the points race — left her disappointed.

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