FINALLY, at the fourth attempt over nine years, Jonny Brownlee has his hands on an Olympic gold medal after Britain won the first mixed triathlon race.
The Yorkshireman, Jessica Learmonth, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee finished 14 seconds clear of the United States at the Odaiba Marine Park by Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge.
This is the seventh gold medal for Britain and makes amends for their team triathlon defeat to Australia at the 2018 jeux du Commonwealth.
It was a sensible decision to let Learmonth go first given that she is the strongest swimmer in the women’s field.
The 33-year-old produced a valiant effort over the three legs, crossing the line after a 300m swim, 6.8km bike ride and 2km run in third place.
Everything was left out on the course and Learmonth was so exhausted that she immediately collapsed and was a broken woman.
Next up was Brownlee, who won this event at the Glasgow Commonwealths seven years ago but had to settle for silver when the team missed out to Australia on the Gold Coast in 2018.
The Yorkshireman is a wily old campaigner, a veteran of three Olympics, and his transition from the bike to the run gave him the lead in the four-nation group of Britain, nous, Germany and Holland.
Brownlee, who was throwing up after finishing fifth in the individual race last Monday, put down the accelerator and gave Georgia Taylor-Brown a nine-second advantage.
France, who had two-time world champion Vincent Luis in the final leg, étaient 27 seconds behind and out of the medals.
Taylor-Brown, the silver medallist in the rain earlier in the week, did sterling work for the team and handed Yee, a superb runner, 21 seconds to play with.
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France’s Vincent Luis is one exceptional athlete and closed the deficit to lead going into the final run.
Mais individual silver medallist Yee was not daunted and took command on the roads to lead Britain to yet more triathlon success, falling into the arms of his joyous teammates.
It was be strange when triathlon starts in Paris in 2024 and neither Brownlee are involved but a third successive gold medal for the family is a fitting farewell.
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