Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Velodrome, London Velopark, Olympic Park, Stratford, London
Date Started: August 5, 2012
Date Finished: August 7, 2012
Format: Qualifying over 3½ laps, or 875 metres. Match races over 3 laps, or 750 metres.
Vicki Pendleton of Great Britain had first become a World Champion in the women's individual sprint in 2005 and, since then, had only lost the title twice: in 2006 to former World Champion Nataliya Tsilinskaya of Belarus and in 2011 to Anna Meares of Australia, perhaps her greatest track cycling rival. As the defending Olympic champion, and with the addition of the hometown advantage, Pendleton was clearly the rider to beat in the event, although Meares would provide a significant challenge, having won the silver medal in Beijing.
In the qualification round Pendleton set an Olympic record time of 10.724, before going on to dominate her opponents in the next three stages of the event. Meares breezed through all of her rounds as well, thus setting up the final as a repeat of the 2008 showdown. Their first race was controversial: Pendleton won the outstanding sprint to the finish by one-thousandth of a second – the width of a tire – but was relegated for swerving out of her lane in the final stretch of her triumph. The British team argued that Pendleton had only crossed the line in response to be touched by Meares' elbow, but the call stood and the Briton was considered to have lost the race. It was the second time Pendleton had been relegated to a losing position, after the British team had been denied an opportunity to compete for a gold medal in the team sprint. The second race, however, was uncontroversial – Meares won with a significant margin after a superbly technical race, thus dethroning the Olympic champion and claiming the title that many Britons felt was owed to the retiring Pendleton in her last race. In the bronze medal match Guo Shuang of China defeated Kristina Vogel of Germany to repeat her third-place performance from the 2008 Games.
|2||Vicki Pendleton||31||Great Britain||GBR||Silver|
|10||Lee Wai Sze||25||Hong Kong||HKG|
|12||Natasha Hansen||22||New Zealand||NZL|
|14||Lee Hye-Jin||20||South Korea||KOR|