Sophie Unwin paid tribute to the support of the track cycling community after she finally got her hands on a Commonwealth medal.
The Honiton star found herself at the centre of a storm as she and Georgia Holt did not receive a gong despite winning a bronze medal final in the sprint event.
Unwin, a two-time Paralympic medallist, responded in kind with an outstanding ride to soar to silver two days later in the 1000m time trial event.
Speaking of the protest and its aftermath, Unwin said: “We didn’t mean to cause any upset or disrespect to the Games or any of the riders riding that day.
“That wasn’t our intention. We were emotional in the moment and we just want to thank everyone in this velodrome, everyone who’s messaged us over the last couple of days.
“They’ve all given us a huge amount of support and that’s what we’ll take away from these Games, the atmosphere and the support we got from everyone.”
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is inspiring people and communities across the country and Unwin hopes their performance will motivate others to get involved in sport.
Unwin and Holt laid down a superb time of 1:07.554 in the final to take gold medal position with two riders to come in front of a packed house at London’s velodrome.
Scotland’s Aileen McGlynn, who won sprint silver on opening day, could not better there time but they were overhauled by Australia’s Jessica Gallagher by a margin of 0.416 seconds.
It was a form of vindication for the pair, although they didn’t see it like that, instead taking pride in the way they responded and revelling in the backing of the crowd.
“The crowd were behind us and to do it in this velodrome with this crowd at a home Games is amazing,” Unwin said.
“We wanted to come here to get on the podium and we did exactly what we wanted.”
Holt added: “It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions but it’s a new setting, a new day, and we went again. We both woke up this morning as new women.”
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