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Adlington 'overawed' by support

"Superstar" swimmer Rebecca Adlington was "overawed" by support from the crowd as she won a bronze medal in Sunday night's 400m freestyle, her parents said.

And the 23-year-old's boyfriend, Harry Needs, needed calming down after an emotional reaction to the result, Steve and Kay Adlington revealed.

"When we saw her boyfriend, he was crying his eyes out. He swims as well with Becky so he knows what she's been going through but he was so emotional himself," Mrs Adlington told BBC Radio 5 Live.

The couple were at the pool along with Adlington's sisters Chloe and Laura to watch her try to defend her title.

The race was won by Frenchwoman Camille Muffat in a new Olympic record of four minutes 01.45 seconds, with American Allison Schmitt second.

Mrs Adlington said she finally spoke to her daughter at around 10.30pm on Sunday night,

"'You're a superstar' is what I said to her, because she is to me. That's how I see her, to me, as my daughter.

"Just dealing with everything she deals with, expectation and pressure, this time round it's huge."

Father Steve said he nearly cried, but would save that for when he saw his daughter.

"Actually she wouldn't let me get a word in edgeways. She said, 'I bet you were crying, Dad'. She calls me a cry-baby, I get very emotional.

"I didn't actually last night. I will do when I see her and I hug her, it will be that point that I'll get emotional."

The couple said Adlington was "overawed" by the support from the crowd.

Mrs Adlington, who said the atmosphere in the aquatics centre was "amazing" - "hairs on the back of your neck time" - said: "I think you could see on poolside how happy she was with that bronze medal.

"There wasn't any sign of any disappointment, and the crowd... she said when we spoke to her that she was completely overawed by the reaction from the crowd."

Adlington herself has tweeted: "Only managed to get through my news feed last night, but just read all my @'s/mentions!! You guys are unbelievable!!! Its overwhelming!"

She added: "I wish I could reply to everyone but would take me days! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your kind words. Means more than you no :-)"

Mr Adlington said Sunday night was "overwhelming, it was just fabulous".

"On the podium she got a standing ovation. We actually felt sorry for the French girl - you'd have thought Becky had won the race, it was incredible, marvellous."

The response will go some way to overshadowing negative comments towards the swimmer from comedian Frankie Boyle.

And Mr and Mrs Adlington declined to discuss the issue, saying it was "not worth talking about".

They said neither they, nor Adlington herself, were expecting her to get a medal.

"It's not her best event. It's her second event, and just to make the final was fantastic so to get a medal was unbelievable," Mr Adlington told the BBC.

His wife added: "Becky would always say all her training is geared, so for the last 12-13 years most of her training is geared to the 800m which is very different and in fairness let's give credit to Muffat.

"She swam, and she has been swimming all year, consistently well at the 400. It was no surprise that she won.

"Realistically I don't think Becky expected to win. We certainly didn't expect Becky to win on current form, but once she's in a race she'll give it everything she's got and more."

The couple, who were planning to have a "nice, chilled-out" day, said they hoped their daughter would just enjoy the 800m race.

"I think she just wants to enjoy it," Mr Adlington added. "Without putting pressure on her, bracing people's expectations, just go in and enjoy it.

"It's the home Olympics, for crying out loud."

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