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OLYMPICS: Games thrill for Francesca
5:23pm Thursday 9th August 2012 in All the latest news from our Wiltshire Olympians
HILPERTON'S Francesca Fox admitted she was overwhelmed as Great Britain's team finally realised their dream of competing at the Olympic Games at Wembley Arena this afternoon.
The self-funded Bath-based British group scored 24.150 to sit in 11th place after the first rotation with Russia (28.375), Italy (28.100) and Belarus (27.900) leading the way with the hoop and ribbon routine to come tomorrow.
It is the first time Great Britain has been represented at an Olympic Games in the group all-around competition after they successfully appealed a decision by British Gymnastics to fill a host nation place.
They had originally looked set to miss out on the Games in January when they missed the target score set by the governing body by 0.273 marks in the group all-around qualifying competition at the test event.
The team of Fox, Rachel Smith, Louisa Pouli, Lynne Hutchison and Swindon's Jade Faulkner today performed in the five balls routine in front of thunderous applause from the home crowd as sixth member Georgina Cassar sat out.
They were the third team to compete and produced one of their best ever performances before being overcome with tears of joy as they sat waiting for their score to flash up - a huge step away from the heartbreak they suffered after missing out on Olympic qualification.
Fox said: "I feel absolutely amazing. What an experience. I totally enjoyed every minute. We're just trying to inspire people and raise the profile of rhythmic in Britain.
"To begin with we're kind of in our own little bubble so we don't really recognise anything, but at the end, as you saw, some of us were crying because it's just so overwhelming.
"You can't explain it really. It was from heartache [at the test event] to absolutely loving every second.
"We're just so proud of each other because obviously we've helped each other through the difficult times that we had but obviously it just shows today how we can achieve."
Smith, the captain of the British group, agreed.
She said: "That was absolutely amazing. With the home crowd it was an absolutely amazing experience. We couldn't have asked for anything else from that routine and we really enjoyed it and I hope everyone else did too.
"As soon as we qualified for the Olympics that was our gold medal - qualifying and making history being the first team to make it to the Olympics from Great Britain.
"I think that's what we achieved really and we really enjoyed today.
"We've worked so hard for this and it's finally come together. We hope everyone else can see how hard we've been working."
The top eight groups will qualify for Sunday's final and while Britain are not expected to make it, Faulkner hopes their efforts will help to inspire a new generation of rhythmic gymnasts.
She said: "Our target was getting here to be the first group from Great Britain, that was our target achieved.
"We just wanted to come here and do our best and show everyone we deserve our place at the Olympics.
"The ribbon and hoop routine is quite different to the ball. It's a lot more dramatic. We'll perform it just as well tomorrow and hopefully everyone will cheer just as loud."
NEWS OF GREAT BRITAIN'S SECOND-DAY PERFORMANCE, PLUS THE LATEST ON ALL WILTSHIRE'S OLYMPIANS, INCLUDING BRADFORD ON AVON SPRINT CANOEIST AND HILPERTON SPRINT RELAY HOPEFUL DANNY TALBOT AT THE SPECIAL OLYMPIC SECTIONS AT WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK AND GAZETTEANDHERALD.CO.UK AND REACTION & PICTURES IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES AND NEXT WEEK'S GAZETTE & HERALD