Largely unheard of when storming to a double Olympic gold medal haul in 2008, Rebecca Adlington will be far more recognisable at London 2012 as she aims to defend her 400m freestyle crown at 4/1.
She is second-favourite to maintain her superiority in that race, whilst this year’s renewal of the 800m freestyle she was triumphant in four years ago sees her afforded 8/15 favouritism.
Still only 23, Adlington will enter this year’s Games brimming with confidence in the knowledge that she is Great Britain’s most successful Olympic swimmer in more than 100 years.
Indeed, Adlington’s unprecedented and unexpected success in Beijing four years ago saw her become the first British swimmer to land a gold medal double since 1908, and a new world record also emanate from her 800m freestyle efforts.
Adlington has followed up her success in these events with another gold in the 800m, and a silver in the 400m at last year’s Shanghai world championships, ensuring she will be a prime target for rivals in this summer’s Games.
“Everyone wants to beat me,” she told the Guardian.
“I don’t feel the pressure of that because I want to beat everyone else and I’ve never been to a meet where the people who go in as the top three finish as the top three in every single race. It happens, it’s life, and that’s what is so exciting about sport in general.”
Having recorded the two fastest times in the world over 800m this year though, it is understandable that Adlington is expected to justify her tag as clear favourite for that race in London this summer.
Although she is second-favourite to 4/6 Camille Muffat in the betting for the 400m race, Adlington is refusing to consider losing either of her medals, and after admitting this could be her final Olympics, she will be determined to go out in the best fashion possible.
That could come via yet more unprecedented Olympic success for the Mansfield-born 23-year-old.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.