Monday, August 13, 2012

Brownlee brothers Alistair and Jonny prove that work ethic and attention to detail can reap Olympic rewards

Alistair and Jonny Brownlee made their mum and dad the proudest parents in Britain today when they won gold and bronze in the triathlon.

The Brownlees would have liked to cross the line together, arm in arm, to celebrate their togetherness, the fact they live and train together. But such familial sentiment is frowned upon by the Olympic movement who insist on the continuous display of effort.
So, with a couple of laps to go, Alistair moved out in front, ahead of the silver medallist Javier Gomez of Spain. It was a remarkable run of power and pace, breaking all competition with its relentlessness.
The result had barely been in doubt from the moment the brothers dived into the grey, choppy waters of the Serpentine.
Together with 46 other athletes, they were performing in front of the biggest ever gathering in their sport’s history. Hyde Park was rammed with spectators, 200,000 of them taking the opportunity to engage with these incredible Olympics for free without a ticket.
Everyone was invited, but the park seemed particularly populated by wiry middle-aged men in Lycra, triathlon’s natural constituency. And they were to witness an astonishing show of strength by the young Yorkshire pair.

After 16 minutes of thrash and splash, the brothers emerged just behind the leader Richard Varga from the water and galloped into the transition area to climb aboard their bikes. Jonny got on his a touch too quickly and was punished with a 15-second penalty he was obliged to serve during the run. Abetted by their team-mate Stuart Hayes, whose role was to act as domestique to the brothers.

He did his job brilliantly, guiding Alistair round Buckingham Palace, through Hyde Park corner and round the lake seven times. So successful were they that they arrived first to change into their favoured pursuit, the run.
And then Alistair took control. He eased away, his stride fluid and certain. Jonny, after serving his penalty on the second lap, dropped back, obliged to run for third.

Alistair’s final running lap was that of a triumphal coronation, the Union flags flying in his honour. So comfortable was he in victory he grabbed a flag off a spectator and ambled over the line, draped in glory in an Olympic record time of one hour 46 minutes, 25 seconds. When Jonathan arrived, 30 seconds behind him the pair hugged in delight, the happiest siblings in the country.

Starting young: Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee show off one of their very, very many triathlon medals.

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