Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Velodrome, London Velopark, Olympic Park, Stratford, London
Date Started: August 2, 2012
Date Finished: August 2, 2012
The women's team sprint was a new addition to the Olympic Games but featured in the UCI Track Cycling World Championships where, for three of the past four years, it was dominated by Australians Kaarle McCulloch and Anna Meares. Their only loss had come in the most recent edition, when the Germans Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte burst onto the scene and stole the title, twice setting a world record during the event. The British team of Vicki Pendleton and Jessica Varnish, as well as the Chinese team Gong Jinjie and Guo Shuang, were considered to be strong competitors as well, although many believed that the gold medal match would come to a showdown between the Germans and the Australians.
Unfortunately, the event's début at the Olympics bordered on disastrous. It began with a fairly auspicious start, with Great Britain setting a world record in the qualification round that was almost immediately broken by the Chinese. In the semifinals, however, Great Britain won their heat with the second fastest time in the round, thus allowing them the opportunity to compete for gold, but lost the chance when they were relegated for an early exchange – Pendleton passed Varnish too early – effectively disqualifying them from the competition. Australia won its heat, but only posted the third-fastest time (even after Britain's relegation) and were left to contest bronze against the Ukraine. China seemed to be the only team that fared well in this round, once again setting a world record, but met the same fate as the British in the final. Even though the Chinese team earned gold in their race against Germany, they were relegated to silver for an early exchange of their own. Australia, meanwhile, easily won its match and took home bronze, but seemed somewhat disheartened at the missed opportunity to take the inaugural Olympic title.