Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee lived up to the hype and handled the pressure brilliantly in putting forth a brilliant display in winning the Gold medal at home in London this morning.
Slovakia’s Richard Varga set the pace to start off the day, completing the 1.5 km swim in 16:56. Not too far behind were the eventually main contenders, Spain’s Javier Gomez (17:00), Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee (17:02), and the Alistair (17:04).
Despite the lead pack of five swimmers (which also included Italy’s Alessandro Fabian) trying to get away from the rest of the field, it only took less than 20 minutes before the main chase pack caught them to make it a lead group of 22. Alistair Brownlee attempted to break free of the pack but the group soon caught him and they remained intact for the rest of the 43 km ride.
Once out of T2, Alistair Brownlee hammered it early and only two others were able to stay with him, his brother Jonathan Brownlee, and Javier Gomez. Thrown into the mix however, was the fact that Jonathan would need to serve a 15 second penalty sometime during the run for mounting the bike too early heading out of T1.
Alistair and Gomez dropped Jonathan just before the start of the final lap of the run, and Jonathan served his penalty then before starting lap four. Fortunately for him, he was still comfortably ahead fourth but was now out of reach of Gomez and his brother. Alistair continued to ramp up the pace and he surged away from Gomez. He closed with a final 10 km time of 29:07 (actually a bit faster but he decided to walk into the finish and soak up his victory in front of the home crowd) to win the first Olympic Triathlon Gold medal for Great Britain in 1:46:25. Gomez followed next for silver (1:46:36), and Jonathan Brownlee secured the bronze medal (1:46:56).
Victoria’s Simon Whitfield, had a great swim (17:23), but crashed just after exiting T1. After making it over a speed bump, Whitfield’s left foot slipped out from the top of his shoe (his feet were not in his cycling shoes yet) and that caused his bike to jerk right and then left as he tried to correct himself. However, in doing so, he was touched from behind from Costa Rica’s Leonardo Chacon who immediately went down. Whitfield tried to stay up but soon collided with the side barriers. He was forced to pull out of the race and was taken to the medical tent after which he emerged with abrasions and bruises to his shins, knees, head, collarbone, and stitches to his big toe. See Whitfield’s crash.
“Not how I envisioned this chapter ending. It’s been a remarkable Olympic journey, more then I could have ever imagined. #ProudCanadian,” tweeted Whitfield after the race.
Fellow Canadians Brent McMahon and Kyle Jones tried fighting back after falling off the pace after the swim (McMahon swam 18:04, and Jones 18:31), but just could not catch on to the lead group during the bike. They ended the bike a little over 90 seconds behind Brownlee lead pack and they would never get any closer. Despite being out of realistic reach of the podium, they still ran valiantly to the finish. Jones ran 31:03 to finish in 25th (1:49:58) and McMahon ran 31:09 to finish just behind in 27th (1:50:03).
1. GBR BROWNLEE Alistair 1:46:25
2. ESP GOMEZ Javier 1:46:36 +0:11
3. GBR BROWNLEE Jonathan 1:46:56 +0:31
4. FRA HAUSS David 1:47:14 +0:49
5. FRA VIDAL Laurent 1:47:21 +0:56
6. GER FRODENO Jan 1:47:26 +1:01
7. RUS BRYUKHANKOV Alexander 1:47:35 +1:10
8. SUI RIEDERER Sven 1:47:46 +1:21
9. POR SILVA Joao 1:47:51 +1:26
10. ITA FABIAN Alessandro 1:48:03 +1:38
25. CAN JONES Kyle 1:49:58 +3:33
27. CAN McMAHON Brent 1:50:03 +3:38
DNF Simon Whitfield