Brownlees deliver on Olympic triathlon vow
August 12, 2012 13:17 pm
Tuesday, August 7 will go down in the record books as the best day in the history of British triathlon to date, and it will take some beating.
Despite numerous world titles and other honours, the host nation went into the London Olympics still searching for a first Olympic medal, and thanks to two brothers from Yorkshire the drought is over.
Alistair Brownlee, 24, lived up to the hype to deliver gold while his 22-year-old brother Jonny came away with bronze, making the pair the first British siblings to stand on the same podium in an individual event for more than a century.
Their success was not unexpected. Alistair is the world champion and has dominated the sport virtually since making his Olympic debut in Beijing as a 20-year-old, where he finished 12th.
The following year he won his first world title while his last defeat over the Olympic distance came 16 months ago in Sydney, when he fell.
Jonny had his breakthrough season in 2010 and by last year had established himself as the nearest challenger to his brother, although their rivalry is so friendly that they live, train and socialise together.
They went into the race as the favourites for gold and silver but Jonny had to give way to Spain's two-time world champion Javier Gomez, who produced one of the best races of his life to take silver.
Alistair refused to be beaten, though, and his time for the final leg, the 10 kilometre run, would have been fast enough to ensure he did not finish last in the 10,000 metres final won by Mo Farah.
The pair have seen their star rise considerably over the last 12 months and were cheered on by a crowd in Hyde Park that was officially estimated at 200,000 but seemed much bigger.
Having now won virtually everything there is to win in triathlon at the age of 24, Alistair is looking for new challenges and could attempt to qualify for the track and field team for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in two years' time.
He said: "I would love to give it a try, especially for Glasgow. Maybe to give me something a bit different, have a new avenue to go down, and try to do it as well as triathlon."
Both brothers are hoping to represent Britain again in Rio de Janeiro in four years' time, where Jonny will hope to have closed the gap.
In the women's race, world champion Helen Jenkins finished fifth.
The 27-year-old from Bridgend in Wales had been struggling with a knee injury prior to the race and did not have the strength in the closing stages to challenge for the medals.
Jenkins said: "I love doing what I do, I love triathlon. You learn more from your setbacks and this is one of the biggest there is."
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