Gold and bronze for Brownlees

  • Last Updated: August 7 2012, 16:31 BST

Alistair and Jonny Brownlee made the Olympic triathlon a family affair as they thrilled the huge Hyde Park crowd to take gold and bronze.

Alistair Brownlee: Class of the field

There was a lot of pressure on the Yorkshire brothers, who finished last year ranked one and two in the world, but they lived up to expectations, albeit with a few dramas.

Jonny received a penalty for mounting his bike too early, which he had to take on the run, but by that point Alistair and Spain's two-time world champion Javier Gomez had pulled away.

Alistair then kicked again and moved clear of his rival, and he had time to collect a Union Jack on his way down the finishing straight before crossing the line to become Britain's first Olympic medallist in triathlon.

Jonny was not far behind but the 22-year-old then collapsed from his exertions and had to be treated in the medical room, delaying the medal ceremony for an hour.

Alistair admitted his primary emotion was relief, saying: "I was very tired, you just want to finish and have a sit down. You don't really have too much time to enjoy it.

"I'd run really hard, probably as hard as I've ever run to win that race. I was very proud and happy but my overwhelming feeling was just to get across the line and get it over and done with.''

The pair are the first British siblings to win medals in an individual sport at the same Games since Reggie and Laurie Doherty also won gold and bronze in tennis in 1900.

They live and train together in the village of Bramhope near Leeds, and Alistair said: "I'm immensely proud that my brother could get a bronze.

"We made no secret of the fact we wanted to get both of us on the podium and that's not an easy thing to do considering Britain's never won a medal in triathlon.

"It shows the strength of training together, pushing each other on all the time and the relationship that we have.''

There had been talk about other nations teaming up to try to beat the Brownlees but, aside from Gomez, they were never threatened.

The swim was led out by the brothers' training partner Richard Varga from Slovakia, with both Alistair, Jonny and Gomez in close attendance.

When they came out of the swim, the quartet formed a lead group along with Alessandro Fabian of Italy but they were caught by another group containing the third British team member, Stuart Hayes, on the third lap.

By that point Jonny already knew he had received a 15-second penalty but the group stayed together until the start of the run, with Hayes, who was in the race to help the Brownlees, doing a lot of the work to prevent attacks.

The brothers and Gomez immediately went to the front and quickly moved away from the rest of the field.

Gomez has had a disappointing couple of seasons and has been completely overshadowed by the Brownlees in the last couple of years but this was the 2008 and 2010 world champion back to his best.

Jonny took his penalty at the end of the third lap and emerged still well ahead of French pair David Hauss and Laurent Vidal, but the day ultimately belonged to his brother.

Alistair's time for the 10 kilometre run was only a minute and 37 seconds slower than Mo Farah's in winning the 10,000 metres on Saturday, while the 24-year-old would have beaten the last-placed athlete in that race.

Jonny did not think the penalty made a difference to his position, saying: "Javier had an incredible run today, his best ever run, so I don't think it would have changed the result.

"But a first and a third is great, a bronze medal is really good and I'm really pleased.

"It's the first penalty I've ever got. I didn't really realise I'd done anything wrong. At first when I saw the board I thought, 'oh number 31, Alistair's got a penalty, what an idiot'.

"Then I looked at my arm, saw 31, looked at the other arm, thought 'oh, I'm 31, oh dear'. It was the longest 15 seconds of my life. I'm not getting a penalty again.''

Alistair hit out at the rules, adding: "I think penalties are a disgrace in triathlon, they're ruining the sport.

"They bring judgmental decisions into a sport that should be a simple you start and you finish and the first three across the line win medals.

"I thought if I could go off as hard as I could and only take Jonny with me then he could run back through the field but two brothers first and third, we can't really complain too much.''

Jonny was not the first Brownlee to collapse at Hyde Park, with Alistair suffering what was then his first World Championship Series defeat when he fell over the finish line in 10th place in 2010.

Jonny said: "I crossed the line and I felt awful. Then I got into the tent afterwards and I felt worse and worse and I overheated, then I collapsed and I was sick and got taken to the medical tent.

"But that's part of triathlon, it's a hard sport. I'm feeling much better now, just a bit tired.''

Alistair admitted Gomez caught him by surprise with his performance but the former medical student always felt in control.

He said: "I was surprised how good Javier was today. It shows the great athlete that he is. He hasn't had a race like that possibly ever, especially not in the last couple of years.

"So it was great to battle with him but I felt like I had the upper hand, I knew I had a very fast kilometre in me so I was pretty comfortable.''

The pair were roared on by an estimated 200,000 people, and Hayes was delighted to play his part in the greatest day in British triathlon history.

The Londoner said: "We've been training as a team for the last two months and it's paid off.

"Alistair and Jonny are amazing and they deserve everything they get. It's a very special moment. British Triathlon dreamt about this for the last three or four Olympics and finally we've done it in London.''