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Murray screamed at herself to do better
Samantha Murray screamed at herself in the mirror as she battled to hold onto her modern pentathlon Olympic dream, and 10 hours later she walked away from Greenwich Park with a silver medal around her neck.
The 22-year-old from Clitheroe in Lancashire continued Britain's proud tradition of winning a medal at every Olympics since women's modern pentathlon was introduced to the programme in 2000. Murray was last after losing all seven of her opening fencing bouts, prompting her to run out of the arena at the Copper Box and give herself a stern talking to.
Murray said: "This year there's been some dodgy fencing. It's my weakest discipline. When you continually get hit and hit and hit, it's demoralising and you feel like a mouse. I could hear the sighs from the crowd every time I didn't get a hit. I jogged out of the hall and went to the bathroom, and I just looked in the mirror and screamed."
She added: "I got all the tension out of me and I told myself, 'Come on, you can do this'. I walked out and (performance director) Jan (Bartu) was there and he'd obviously heard me scream.
"He looked at me and said, 'Right, I'm glad that's out, now listen', and he put me on the straight and narrow. I went back to the room and I thought, 'I'm here, I know what I can do'.
"I won a medal at the World Championships, I knew I was a contender for a medal and I wasn't going to give it up."
It was a big turning point, with Murray ending the fencing on a respectable 832 points heading into her best event, the 200 metres freestyle swim. Second in the pool was enough to lift her up to third overall, and a solid performance in the show jumping left Murray in fourth heading into the final event, the combined run and shoot.
She could not catch Lithuanian winner Laura Asadauskaite but Murray emerged from the second visit to the range in third place and then chased down Brazil's Yane Marques for a brilliant silver.
It has been a hard road for the 22-year-old, who was an outsider to make the team until she won bronze at the World Championships in Rome in May.
Murray added: "Now I can let my hair down, I can have a gin and tonic. I'm going to have some time off, enjoy myself, go home and just celebrate my medal with all the people who've supported me."