MATTHEW Langridge became only the third ever Mid Cheshire athlete to win an Olympic medal on Sunday.
But it was silver not gold for the 24-year-old oarsman and the British eight.
They weren’t quite good enough to topple the world champions Canada and their disappointment clearly showed when the crew lined up for their medals.
But Langridge is a hero in Northwich and when he returns to his home town in a fortnight he is assured of a rousing reception.
Northwich Rowing Club will throw a celebration and there will be official acknowledgement from Vale Royal and Northwich town councils of his success.
Langridge said: “We wanted the gold and thought we might just do it.”
Dad Steve added: “It was a fantastic achievement and I am sure he will soon come to realise that. His whole family is incredibly proud of him.”
Carolyn MacRitchie, of Northwich Rowing Club: “Matt was only interested in winning and that showed in his face afterwards.”
Northwich rowers packed their club to watch the race, which Canada dominated after a fast start.
The British boat did not make an impact before the 1,000m mark, but were making up ground at the finish, while holding off a surge by the Americans.
But being second best is not always easy to bear. Shirley Strong, 1984 hurdles silver medallist at the Los Angeles Games, says it was two years before she began to realise she was not a failure, but she has only watched her video of the race twice in 24 years because she still finds it too distressing.
Mid Cheshire’s other Olympic medallist is Max Woosnam, who won tennis gold and silver in 1920.
There was heartbreak for Paula Radcliffe, who lived in Mid Cheshire until the age of 12. She beat her recent injuries but was simply not fit enough and finished 23rd in the marathon.
“I was trying to acheive the impossible,” she said.