No 'second-Games syndrome' for Adlington

As a two-time reigning champion for Rebecca Adlington there is a certain irony in the statistics that suggest second and third-time Olympians are more likely to secure a medal.

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But she insists the fact that her second Games experience is in the capital more than makes up for the weight of expectation - and the statistical pressure - that London 2012 is going to throw up.

Of the 31 gold medals handed out to British athletes in Beijing, nearly two thirds of the podium-toppers were competing in their second or third Games.

Adlington is an anomaly having won 400 and 800m freestyle gold at her debut Games and as a consequence will have to go some not to fall short of her Beijing heroics.

However, while recognising the power of a second Games, Adlington insists the home crowd factor might just trump any prior knowledge.

"Obviously a second Games will make a difference but I see it as a bit different to a normal second Games," said Adlington. 

"I would say if it was a ‘normal' Olympics in a different country then, whether it was our second Games or not, it wouldn't give us so much of an edge.

"But I think the fact that it's here it'll help us even more. Obviously, yes it is our second Olympics and we are a lot more experienced and that will help us even if we were going to a Games in a different country.

"But I think it will help us even more the fact that it is in our country."

And, while Adlington admits it is all about making home advantage count in the capital later this year, she insists taking it all in features high on the to-do list.

She was a wide-eyed 19-year-old in China in four years ago and plans on soaking up the atmosphere in and out of the pool in London.

"When the team met up recently we all sat in groups depending on how many Olympics we had been to whether it was first, second or third," she added.

"We were all saying how different it is when it is your second Games. Obviously we are not there yet and we can't talk about the experience in the village or anything like that.

"But it is just like in terms of qualifying everyone expected us to get there so it was more of a relief. I think the first time around there is so much excitement because it is new and you don't know what to expect.

"And we all said this time around that we want to take a step back and really enjoy and appreciate it. I think the first time you are trying to take everything in because it's so different to any meet you have been to before.

"Hopefully we can take a step back this time and be able to appreciate it and enjoy it."

Rebecca Adlington is a British Gas ambassador. British Gas is getting the nation to show its support for the British Swimming Teams and is giving away free swims. Simply visit www.britishgas.co.uk/freeswimming

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