article by Nicola Pucci

The triathlon has a short Olympic history, if it is true that it has been a sport admitted to the five-circle arena only since the dawn of the New Millennium, i.e. Sydney 2000, when the Canadian Simon Whitfield and the Swiss Brigitte McMahon opened their respective rolls of honor. Nonetheless, it already has some interesting stories to tell, e.g the one concerning the Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonathanis one of them.

British, one two years older than the other, the two brothers are both members of the triathlon club of Leeds Metropolitan Universityand if since they were young they have expressed important qualities Alistair won the Junior World Championships in 2006 and the Under 23 World Championships in 2008 and Jonathan in turn won the Under 23 World Championships in 2010, they then established a real domination of the specialty, if it is true that they finished in first and third position at the 2012 London Games, with only the Spaniard Javier Gomez capable of placing himself on the second step of the podium, and they imposed themselves on more also resumed at the elite World Championships, with three world titles won in the Grand Final of Gold Coast in 2009 and Beijing in 2011 by Alistair, and in 2012 in Auckland by Jonathan.

Gomez himself, in the four-year Olympic period that unites London and Rio, won the three world championship editions of 2013, 2014 and 2015, to add to the titles of 2008 and 2010and the nine consecutive appearances on the world podium make it the main favorite at the 2016 Rio Olympics to put around his neck the only precious metal still missing from his collection. But an accident during cycling training in July which caused him to fracture an arm forced him to withdraw from the Olympics and so the Brownlee brothers, freed from the presence of the Iberian, have the green light in the race for the five-ring title, although another Spaniard, Mario Mola, vice world champion in 2014 and 2015, also represents an authoritative candidate for the medal golden.

55 athletes are competing in Fort Copacabana on August 18, with the swimming leg (1500 metres) featuring the Slovakian Richard Varga, the Russian Igor Polyanskiy and the Italian Alessandro Fabian, capable of temporarily leading the competition with a time of 17’18”, closely followed by a large group of opponents which includes, in addition to the Brownlee brothers, also the South African Henri Schoeman, while Mola is 19″ behind.

In the second fraction by bicycle (40 kilometres) various groups formand in the leading one, among which there are still Varga and Fabian, Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, the Belgian Marten Van Riel, the French Vincent Luis, the Australian Aaron Royle, the American Ben Kanute, the Swiss Andrea Salvisberg and Schoeman, with Mola hopelessly delayed, things really start to get serious and the best come to the fore.

The Brownlee brothers set a very high pace in the last 10 kilometers of the race and only Schoeman manages not to be overwhelmed by the British pair. After a practically solo gallop, Alistair distances Jonathan by 6″ and finally reaches the finish line alone, winning Olympic gold for the second time in two consecutive editions, while Schoeman, at forty-two seconds, rejects the comeback attempt of his compatriot Richard Murray and the Portuguese Joao Josè Pereira, ensuring at least the bronze medal.

And if you really wanted a good Olympic story about triathlon, what’s better than a good family challenge for the first two steps of the podium?

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2023-09-24 08:29:00


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