Adlington rightful favourite for Olympic gold in 800m freestyle

Rebecca Adlington heads into the final of the womens’ 800m freestyle this evening as the 4/9 favourite – and rightly so.

Adlington has already claimed a bronze in the 400m freestyle but it’s over the longer course that she excels.

Her world record time of 8:14.10 from her Olympic gold-winning swim in 2008 still stands and she was the fastest in the heats with a time of 8:21.78.

That time is miles quicker than any other swimmer in the competition – apart from one other competitor, Denmark’s Lotte Friis.

The Dane was the only other person to swim under 8:22:00 in the heats and, realistically, it’s only her who can stop Adlington from creating history by becoming the first British swimmer to defend her Olympic title.

Friis is out at 7/4 to bag her first Olympic gold and, anyone looking for a riskier punt on this showpiece for British swimming, could do a lot worse than back the Dane.

Despite finishing just over nine seconds behind Adlington in Beijing – a performance that was still enough to get her bronze – she has since closed the gap and has produced some brilliant performances.

At the Budapest European Championships in 2010 Friis beat Adlington by a previously unthinkable four seconds.

However, in their World Championships clash last summer, Adlington came out on top of a brutal encounter that saw Friis push the Mansfield swimmer all the way.

She looked hugely impressive in her 400m freestyle bronze and, despite not having anyone to push her, still swam inside Friis’s time in the heats.

It may not be the biggest bet you’ll ever take on but, with the home crowd roaring her home, backing Adlington at 4/9 looks well worth a punt.