British brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee lived up to their billing as they won the gold and bronze medal in the Men’s Triathlon at the London Summer Olympics.
The prerace favorite and reigning world champion, 24-year-old Alistair Brownlee surged in the second half of the 10 kilometer run to beat second place finisher Javier Gomez of Spain by 11 seconds to add to the already impressive list of overall medals and the 19th gold awarded to athletes from the host country. The elder Brownlee finished in 1 hour 46 minutes and 25 seconds while the younger 22-year-old Jonathan crossed the finish line in 1:46:56 despite a 15 second penalty after mounting his bike too early in the transition area.
Just before he crossed the finish line, Alistair grabbed a British flag from a fan standing nearby and draped it across his shoulders as he reveled in his historic victory on British soil. He later embraced Jonathan after the younger Brownlee crossed the finish line as the thousands of spectators on hand at the finish line roared in their delightful approval. Moments later, Jonathan had to be treated by Olympic medical staff for fatigue but managed to recover quickly.The other top 10 Olympic triathlon finishers were in order: David Hauss and Laurent Vidal from France, Jan Frodeno from Germany, Alexander Bryukhankov of Russia, Sven Riderer of Switzerland, Joao Silva from Portugal and Alessandro Fabian from Italy. 36-year-old American Hunter Kemper in his record setting fourth Olympic triathlon appearance, finished 14th was fellow countryman Manuel Huerta lagged far behind, finishing in 51st overall. The Brownlee brothers credit the third Brit triathlete Stuart Hayes for allowing them to draft (legally) behind him. Hays finished in 37th overall.
Coming out of the swim portion, the top three finishers were among a group of just five triathletes that built up a commanding 15-second lead from the rest of the pack. At the end of the 43-kilometer bike, Alistair led Jonathan and Javier Gomez by mere seconds by dispatched the others in a blazing 29:07 in the 10 kilometer run despite what the elder Brownlee described as hot and muggy conditions.
Alistair’s crowning achievement earned him Britain’s first Olympic triathlon medal, gold or otherwise and capped a season that was cut short due to an Achilles tendon injury he suffered in February. Besides the Olympic gold medal, he is a two time ITU World Champion and European Champion. After the race, he spoke to BBC reporters and said how “massively proud” he was of his Olympic medal.
While Alistair has gotten most of the attention in the wake of his victory, Jonathan remains a force to be reckoned with in future triathlon events since he is the two-time reigning World Sprint Champion and may not always want to defer to his other brother. Nevertheless he is still quite proud of his Olympic bronze, particularly because of his performance in front of the British fans in London.
Now that the Brownlee brothers have achieved Olympic glory, they both can relax, even for a bit. But they’re not expected to rest on their laurels, as they will resume training as early as tomorrow. Hopefully they’ll both take at least one day off.
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