IF YOU’RE walking with an extra spring in your step today, you have a couple of Leeds lads to thank.
The Brownlees delivered. Alistair and Jonny came up with a performance to ensure that our city’s strong performance at the Olympics continued.
The boys produced the race of their lives to win Olympic gold and silver for Leeds, Yorkshire and Britain.
Not just one of this county’s greatest ever sporting triumphs, it was one of the most dominant victories in the history of UK endurance sport – a remorseless and relentless Alistair having time to wave to the crowd, and walk over the finish line in his own time, as he became the first triathlete in history to successfully defend an Olympic title.
It was the ultimate performance, one to rival the very best of Team GB’s great deeds in Brazil.
One hour and 45 minutes of sporting supremacy in the searing heat of the Rio midday sun, years of training in their beloved Yorkshire paid off and ended with an emotional embrace as this one family team moved ahead of the likes of Ireland, Norway, Austria and Finland in the medal table after surpassing their first and third place finish in 2012 in London.
As well as their physical prowess, it’s also their humility which stands them apart from their peers – the streets of Rio were bedecked with Yorkshire flags and, closer to home, news of their victory was greeted with the biggest roar of the week at York’s Ebor festival.
Don’t under-estimate this affection – it shows the wider public appreciate sporting greatness and the sacrifices that are now required to be the very best.
After all, it is thanks to these down-to-earth brothers that the eyes of the world were not just on the iconic Copacabana beach but also Leeds during this gruelling race.
This city has only become home to the triathlon, with internationally-renowned training facilities, thanks to the brilliant Brownlees who have become the ultimate role models because of their dedication, endearing personalities and ambassadorial qualities. Long may they continue to win – and inspire the next generation who will have some of the biggest shoes of all to fill in any sport. Truly, their like will never be seen again. They are that special.
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