Olympics: Bradley Wiggins Becomes Britain's Top Olympian with Time Trial Gold

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 1, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01:  Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain in action during the Men's Individual Time Trial Road Cycling on day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 1, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Great Britain has not had much to cheer about at the 2012 London Olympics so far, but Wednesday is when the nation and its athletes came to life.

Just hours after the Brits won their first gold medal of the games thanks to rowing pair Heather Stanning and Helen Glover, cyclist Bradley Wiggins won the second gold of the games in the men's time trial.

With his gold in the time trial, Wiggins surpassed Sir Steve Redgrave for the most medals won by a British Olympian ever.

The road time trial gold earned on Wednesday by the 2012 Tour de France winner was his first medal in road cycling.

The previous six medals that the man affectionately known as "Wiggo" won were in track cycling.

Wiggo's quest for glory began 12 years ago in Sydney as the then 20-year-old won a bronze medal in the team pursuit.

Four years later in Athens, Wiggins scored three medals, one of each kind, on the track.

He upgraded to silver in the team pursuit, as well as winning gold in the four kilometer individual pursuit and bronze in the Madison event.

In his final appearance on the track for Great Britain, Wiggins won two more medals in Beijing in 2008 with a repeat title in the individual pursuit, finally winning the elusive gold in the team pursuit.

After the 2008 season, Wiggins switched to road cycling and quickly became a sensation there as well.

It was not until the past 12 months that Wiggins finally saw the success he was looking for on the road.

After crashing out of the 2011 Tour de France, Wiggins recovered from the injury and won the 2011 Vuelta a Espana. That set the tone for his dominant 2012 season.

In addition to his Tour de France win, Wiggins also won prestigious road races, including the Criterium du Dauphine, Paris-Nice and the Tour of Romandie.

All of those achievements fail to compare to the gold medal that he won on Wednesday and the record that he will hold for the foreseeable future.

No other active British Olympian is even close to beating Wiggins' British medal record, which now stands at seven total: four gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

For the rest of the Olympics, Great Britain may not have a lot of success. But on Wednesday, the people of the host nation had a chance to salute Wiggo, the fan-favorite who will go down in history as the best British Olympian of all time.