Alistair Brownlee Wins Olympic Triathlon Gold
Alistair Brownlee won Great Britain’s first ever Olympic triathlon medal by taking gold today, ahead of Javier Gomez of Spain and his brother Jonathan Brownlee.
Alistair Brownlee on his way to gold at the London 2012 Olympic triathlon, with Javier Gomez (ESP) and brother Jonathan. Photo: Adam Hurrell
The men’s Olympic triathlon provided an exciting race with a satisfying finish for Team GB with Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee taking gold and bronze for Britain while Spain’s Javier Gomez secured silver.
Overcast conditions and a cool water temperature in the Serpentine meant a wetsuit swim as in the women’s race.
Under the applause of an enthusiastic crowd, the Brownlees swam off the front of the pack soon after diving from the pontoon along with Gomez, Richard Varga, and Bryukhankov. After the single lap of the supporter-lined Serpentine, Varga left the water first along with the other five members of the swim break away with a clear gap over the main field. The incredibly fast swim – around 17 minutes for the front pack – set the pace for a ferociously competitive race.
Getting swiftly out onto the bike in front of a packed grandstand, the lead group of six athletes powered away onto a 43km-course lined with iconic London landmarks. With team-mate Stuart Hayes in the chase group, the Brownlee brothers worked together in front and never looked troubled by the bike pace. An increasingly vocal crowd roared the home team on as the first chase group caught them on the third lap, with the rest of the field almost a minute behind and, by that stage, unlikely to pose a threat. Hayes justified his selection with characteristic control of some attempted breakaways, chasing down any athletes who looked tempted to ride away from the front.
All was not going entirely to plan though: Jonathan Brownlee, former sprint champion and second in the 2011 ITU World Championship Series, had mounted his bike before the permitted point after the first transition, incurring a 15-second penalty to be paid at his chosen lap during the 10km run. The younger Brownlee displayed impressive calm though and the lead pack entered T2 with a clear gap.
On the run, it was a pleasingly familiar story for British and Spanish fans, with the Brownlees and Gomez quickly racing away from the field and no-one able to match their pace. By the end of the first lap, the group had a 30-second lead on the following athletes and although there were some strong runners behind – notably France’s David Hauss and Russia’s Alexander Bryukhankov – it was clear the battle for podium spots would be between the three.
Stuart Hayes, Team GB's domestique, enjoys his final run lap
Alistair Brownlee and Gomez began to increase the pace on the second lap so that bronze was a realistic target for Jonathan even with his 15-second penalty left to serve on the penultimate lap. The younger Brownlee made up time impressively and clung on to his third place spot as Alistair pulled further away, the din of the home crowd urging him on to the finish.
With the final 200 metres in sight and victory assured, Alistair Brownlee was able to enjoy the moment. He slowed, draped a Union Jack flag around his shoulders and crossed the line in 1:46:25, with Gomez 11 seconds back and Jonathan Brownlee 20 seconds behind Gomez.
For Alistair Brownlee, a double world champion, world U23 champion, world junior champion and 12th place finisher at the last Olympics, the win was the culmination of years of hard work and intense expectation and the first Olympic win for Great Britain since the sport’s debut in Sydney 2000. Brownlee said: “I am immensely proud that my brother can get a bronze; we made no secret that we wanted to get both of us on the podium today and that’s not an easy thing to do considering Britain’s never won a medal in triathlon. We gave it everything; it shows the strength of training together and pushing each other on all the time.
“To get two British brothers on the podium, you could not ask for more and with Stuart Hayes we really were a team of three. Today we had a plan and we executed it really well.”
The win also meant that Team GB equalled their haul of 19 gold medals in the Beijing Olympics four years ago.
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on Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 at 6:27 pm under Pro Triathlon, Pro Triathlon News, Race Reports & Results, Triathlon News.
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