COLNE cyclone Steven Burke blew away the competition to take gold and a new world record at the London Olympics tonight.
The 24-year-old cycling ace made Britain proud as he and his team mates powered ahead of the Australian competition in the Team Pursuit.
His emotional mum Sharon, who watched the race alongside Steven’s dad Alvin, said: “We are so proud. We are completely overwhelmed. It’s a fantastic achievement. We’ve all cried tears of joy. What
Steven, who won bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the individual pursuit, said: “The last four years have been really hard for us but it’s all come together for us at the right moment.”
In the qualifiers the team had broken their own world record - only to smash it again in the final by almost a second.
In recognition of Steven’s triumph, Pendle Council announced it would be awarding Steven the ‘freedom of the borough’ - the highest honour it can give.
Brian Cookson, the council’s director of regeneration and also president of British Cycling, said: "What an amazing achievement for Steven.
“It only seems a couple of years ago that he was first showing his talent in youth races at the Manchester Velodrome, and now here he is with an Olympic Gold Medal as part of the astonishing world
record-breaking British team.
“As a Colne and Pendle resident, he is a real credit to his family, a superb role model for our young people, and I'm sure he will inspire many to achieve the highest levels in their chosen fields.
“Many congratulations on his superb performance and I'm sure we can look forward to even more successes in the future.”
Steven’s aunt Ellen Burke, 50, from Barley Street, Colne, celebrated with his Granddad Vinny, friends and neighbours, said: “I’m on top of the world. We are ecstatic and we are all celebrating.
“Everyone is so thrilled for him. He has put Colne and the map, we are so proud.
“His granddad and I have been crying tears of happiness.”
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, who lives in Steven’s home town of Colne, was watching the event from London.
He said: “Steven has achieved some remarkable things over the last few years. I was delighted to attend his homecoming parade when he won bronze in the Beijing Olympics.
“It is a stunning achievement for such a young athlete from Colne. I think this is brilliant news, not just for steven and all his friends and family, but for Pendle and East Lancashire.
“It’s an achievement that deserves recognition for an Olympic gold medalist.”
Steve Edgington, 57, bar manager at the Crown Hotel, in Colne, where fans were watching the final said: “It’s brilliant. It’s great he’s a local lad. They performed top notch and achieved the world
record as well.
“To see the three of them coming across the line like that together was real team work. Their gold medal was very well deserved.”
Colin Nutter, 66, who was cheering the team on, said: “I think it is great. He has performed incredibly well. He’s done the town proud.”
FACTFILE: STEVEN BURKE
- 1988: Born Burnley, March 4, 1988.
- 2005: Claims team pursuit silver at Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Vienna.
- 2006: Bronze in team pursuit at Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Ghent. Gold in team pursuit at Junior European Track Championships in Greece.
- 2007: February - Bronze in team pursuit at Track World Cup in Manchester.
- July - Wins team pursuit gold and individual pursuit bronze at European Track Championships in Germany.
- 2008: February - Wins team pursuit gold at Track World Cup in Copenhagen with Ed Clancy, Paul Manning and Geraint Thomas.
- August 16 - Claims individual pursuit bronze behind Bradley Wiggins at the Beijing Olympic Games.
- 2009: March - Fourth in team pursuit at Track Cycling World Championships in Pruszkow, Poland with Clancy, Peter Kennaugh and Jonny Bellis.
- July - Gold in individual pursuit at European Under-23 Track Championships in Belarus.
- November 1 - Gold in team pursuit at Track World Cup in Manchester with Clancy, Thomas and Andy Tennant, clocking three minutes 54.395 seconds, the second fastest time in history.
- 2010: March 26 - Takes team pursuit silver at Track Cycling World Championships in Copenhagen behind Australia alongside Clancy, Tennant and Ben Swift.
- November - Gold in team pursuit at European Track Championships in Pruszkow, Poland alongside Clancy, Tennant and Jason Queally.
- 2011: February 20 - Wins Manchester Track World Cup team pursuit with Clancy, Thomas and Wiggins.
- March 23 - Claims team pursuit bronze at Track Cycling World Championships in Apeldoorn, Holland with Tennant, Kennaugh and Sam Harrison.
- October - Wins team pursuit at European Championships.
- 2012: February 19 - Second in team pursuit at London World Cup behind Australia with Clancy, Thomas and Kennaugh.
- April 4 - Wins Track Cycling World Championships gold in Melbourne in a world record of 3mins 53.295secs alongside Clancy, Kennaugh and Thomas.
- June 13 - Named in British team for London 2012.
- August 3 - Wins Olympic gold in men's team pursuit in a new world record time of 3:51.659, alongside Thomas, Kennaugh and Clancy.