Sportsmen are so often denied the perfect ending but Jonny Brownlee was able to bow out in style on the biggest stage of all as he completed the full set of Olympic medals.
After the relative disappointment of the individual event, where Brownlee finished fifth, he played a key role in a dominant British performance in the triathlon mixed relay as he joined Jess Learmonth and individual silver medallists Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee in powering to victory at Odaiba Marine Park.
It was Brownlee’s second leg that proved decisive, after Learmonth had started strongly to keep GB in the front bunch. On the transition between bike and run, Brownlee opened up a gap from his rivals, and he then left them in his wake to give Taylor-Brown a handy lead. She and Yee completed the job as Team GB triathletes depart from these Games with three medals and a third Olympic gold, to establish themselves as the most successful nation in the history of the sport.
And for Brownlee, who has had to spend so long watching older brother Ali on the top step of the podium, it was the perfect way to call time on his Olympic career before he joins him in longer Ironman triathlons.
He said: “If someone had said at the start of my international career I’d have three Olympic medals and three different colours I’d have taken that. It’s super special.
“The way we all raced today was amazing. Jess set us up perfectly, we didn’t make any mistakes, we did everything as well as we could and Alex finished it off. To finally get a gold medal, I’m quite emotional.”
The 31-year-old is a level-headed individual with an insatiable drive – to the point that he intends to take just a few days off before getting back into training. But he also has a superstitious side when it comes to his brother’s Olympic golds. Now, at long last, he has one of his own.
Ali said of his brother: “I know for a long time that he’s wanted gold. And he never wanted to touch my medals. He thought it was bad luck. It’s awesome for him and I’m really happy.” If the Brownlees have been the inspiration for a new generation of British triathletes, the latest crop have now written their own history.
Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor James Lewis said:
“I would like to offer on behalf of the city of Leeds, huge congratulations to triathletes Jonny Brownlee, Jess Learmonth, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Leeds Beckett University student Alex Yee on their wonderful gold medal in the Olympic mixed relay event.
“We are extremely proud of the rich history and pedigree that Leeds has in triathlon, and to see therefore four athletes with ties to the city win gold in one single event is a truly unforgettable moment.
“On a final note, I would like to pay special tribute to Jonny on his gold medal. He is not just a wonderful athlete but also a great role model and ambassador for Leeds. This gold is the icing on the cake on what has been a sensational career in the sport for Jonny and is richly deserved.”
We would like to Congratulate to triathletes Jonny Brownlee, Jess Learmonth, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Leeds Beckett University student Alex Yee on their wonderful gold medal in the Olympic mixed relay event.