1. ITV Report

Teesside rower wins North East's first gold medal

Kat Copeland, right, won gold alongside Durham University graduate Sophie Hosking. Photo: ITV

Teesside's Kat Copeland has won the North East's first gold medal at London 2012, winning the women's lightweight double sculls at Eton Dorney, alongside her partner, Sophie Hosking.

They qualified fastest for the final, and beat China by two seconds to take Team GB's fourth rowing gold, and their tenth in the Games overall.

It's only the second post-war Olympic gold medal for the North East. The first was won by Newcastle's Jonathan Edwards in the Triple Jump at Sydney 2000.

Following her win, Kat told BBC Sport:

"I can't believe this is real, that we just won. We just won the Olympics! I've been trying all week not to think about it because it's made me cry every time.

"So I've been trying to just not think about it. Then when we were on the last 50... I can't believe that just happened.

"I know this isn't the Oscars, but can I just say thanks to my mum and dad because we've been through some bumps and I don't know if they always wanted me to just row all the time."

– Kat Copeland, Olympic champion
Kat's clubmates at Tees Rowing Club were with her every stroke as she won Olympic gold. Credit: ITV

Kat, who's a member of Tees Rowing Club, was born in Ashington and now lives in Stockton. She was 14 when she first learnt to row at Yarm School, which has produced a number of GB juniors in the past few years. But she nearly quit rowing two years ago because she wanted to remain in the North East.

Sophie Hosking is a Durham University graduate. The duo only began rowing together this year. They were beaten into second place at the World Cup by Greece, but beat them into third in the Olympic final.

Kat is a world under 23 champion, having won the lightweight women's single sculls last year.

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