Immediately after the Olympic final, a breathless Adlington said she was proud of her bronze, defying anyone not to value it as a valid podium finish.

“I gave it my all,” Adlington told the BBC. “I’m sorry I did not get the Olympic gold everyone was hoping for but a bronze medal is nothing to be embarrassed about – I hate when people say that that’s losing. Swimming is so, so difficult and I hope people are proud of me for getting that bronze.”

Adlington has been a star of London 2012 from the beginning of her challenge, recording four out of the five fastest times of the year so far.

The 23-year-old already holds two Olympic gold medals and tonight had been aiming to defend her title won in Beijing.

Hopes were set after Adlington set the fastest time in qualifying for the finals.

“I just put my head down and went for it, especially after only scraping into the 400m final,” she said at the time.

“I was like ‘I am not risking that’ even if I give it a little bit more than I should do, I’d rather get in safely so I just went for it and I am pleased with that time. Obviously it’s going to be a battle in the final but I’ve just got to see what I can get.”

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