Alistair Brownlee wins gold with brother Jonathan taking silver as British duo dominate Olympic triathlon in Rio
- Alistair Brownlee won his second Olympic gold medal in the men's triathlon after success in 2012
- Brother Jonathan went one better than in London as he won the silver medal in Rio
- Alistair Brownlee's gold medal is the 20th gold medal for Great Britain and 53rd and 54th medals overall
Lying beside his brother at the finish of the Olympic triathlon, Jonny Brownlee reached across to give Alistair a playful, congratulatory rub on the head. ‘We’ve done it,’ they then said to one another, hugging as they celebrated their gold and silver medals — a first in British sport.
It was a touching moment here in the scorching Copacabana sunshine. Perhaps one of the images of the Games. And it was also then that a fierce sibling rivalry took a back seat and they returned to being best friends and training partners.
Some 12 minutes earlier on the concluding 10km run, however, there had been no room for sentiment, not a hint of brotherly love. They were out on their own, Brownlee versus Brownlee, a commanding distance ahead of the field. But when Jonny urged Alistair to ‘relax’, Alistair sensed Jonny might be suffering and responded with a ruthless burst of acceleration.
Alistair Brownlee celebrates his gold medal with brother and silver medalist Jonathan Brownlee
The Brownlee brothers pose on the podium with bronze medal winner Henri Schoeman from South Africa
Alistair and Jonny Brownlee celebrate with their medals after their dominating performance in the triathlon
Alistair Brownlee beams with pride as he waits to receive his medal after winning the triathlon
Alistair Brownlee holds a Union flag as he approaches the finish line to win his second Olympic gold
The Brownlee brothers celebrate with each other while holding the Union flag and a flag with the white rose of Yorkshire
The Brownlee brothers collapse after crossing the finish line on the Rio coastline
OLYMPIC TRIATHLON RESULTS
It was a move that not only broke his brother’s spirit but reasserted his authority in the sport, the elder Brownlee becoming the first man to defend the Olympic title successfully, beating Jonny one more time in the process.
If Alistair’s attack around 4km from the finish appeared cold-hearted and clinical it was also necessary. And not just because he may have feared Jonny might have the flat speed to take him in a sprint. Before the Olympics in London it was made clear to them that if they attempted to cross the line together they would be separated. So they had no choice but to race then — finishing with gold and bronze. The same rules applied here.
They had controlled the race from the outset, out of the water and across the Copacabana sand in the leading swim group before setting the pace on the bike.
A 10-man breakaway formed, with the Brownlees taking turns over the eight laps in making it as hard as possible for their opponents, particularly on the short, steep climb.
By the time they got into their stride on the run they had only Vincent Luis for company, dropping the Frenchman after 2km and pulling clear.
Alistair looked hot, even after dousing himself in water at every feed station. By contrast Jonny seemed more comfortable, nothing like as red in the face.
And yet it was Alistair who emerged the stronger, obliterating the field and finishing 42 seconds ahead of third-placed Henri Schoeman. The gap between the Brownlees was just six seconds, but only because Alistair collected a Union flag and a Yorkshire Rose flag from a spectator and walked the last 40 or 50 yards. The gap until then was closer to 20 seconds.
Alistair Brownlee (left) cruised to his second consecutive Olympic triathlon gold medal
The Brownlee brothers try and cool down as they embark on the final leg of the triathlon
The Brownlees were out in front as soon as they started the final leg of the triathlon
The brothers collect their bikes from next to the Copacabana as they begin the second stage of the triathlon
A near-perfect ride from the British duo saw them take a big lead over the chasing pack
There were no hard feelings afterwards, these two young men from Yorkshire taking the stage at the post-race press conference and performing something of a comedy double act. Asked about attacking his brother, Alistair revealed that during the first lap of the run he had been urging Jonny to ‘push it on now’ so they could drop the rest. But then came the second lap.
‘I started pushing it on,’ said Alistair. ‘Jonny said, “Relax”, and I just thought if he’s telling me to relax he’s probably finding this quite hard. So I pushed it on a little bit more and I was really surprised to get that gap.
‘I didn’t think it would come out that easy but I was delighted. I thought just got to go for it now, focus, focus.’
Jonny was not certain it was over. ‘I was telling myself he had gone too hard. I was telling myself I could catch him. But with 2km to go I knew it wasn’t going to happen.’
For Alistair the achievement was all the more remarkable because of the ‘hell’ he has been through since London. It has been four years plagued by serious injury, culminating in reconstructive ankle surgery last year.
‘He’s got a sob story coming up,’ joked Jonny.
‘Jonny is the least sympathetic man on earth,’ replied Alistair. ‘I had that ankle surgery at the back end of August last year. Literally through November I wasn’t really running. At the start of December I started but I didn’t really run pain-free until the new year. I am not one to question whether I can do it, but I did.’
‘He got really fat,’ said Jonny.
‘I did put on quite a lot of weight,’ admitted Alistair. ‘But there has been a lot of hard training, with Jonny pushing me on. Those sessions, which have been harder than races, a few times a week absolutely killing myself. Going to bed not being able to sleep because my legs hurt so much. Getting up in the morning and not being able to walk because my ankles were so stiff I could hardly move. It’s been like that for the last six months with a few bumps and injuries along the way.’
Jonathan Brownlee runs into the sea from the Copacabana at the start of the triathlon
Jonathan Brownlee gets ready to start the first leg of the triathlon in the sea off the Copacabana
Alistair Brownlee (left) and brother Jonny (right) exit the water during the men's triathlon
The Brownlee brothers emerge from the sea at the end of the swimming leg of the triathlon
Jonny said he was on crutches ‘this time last year’ with a stress fracture in his foot, so they were understandably thrilled.
‘I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Ali,’ said Jonny. ‘He taught me how to train, showed me the run routes where we live, got me up early in the morning so we could ride our bikes to school.
‘I get asked the jealousy question and I guess if I finish my career and I don’t have a gold medal I might be a bit jealous. But I’ve got an Olympic silver and if I’m going to get beaten by anyone I would rather it was Alistair.’
A few more wisecracks followed. ‘I thought he might wait for me and then I was going to dip him on the line,’ said Jonny.
And before Alistair could say if he intended to pursue a third Olympic title in Tokyo, Jonny had a response ready. ‘Hopefully not,’ he said, another broad smile breaking out across his face.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-3747369/Alistair-Brownlee-takes-gold-brother-Jonny-picking-silver-British-duo-dominate-triathlon.html#ixzz4Hj5sv4Pz
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