Bramhope-based Jonny and Alistair Brownlee are hoping to go one better than replicating their respective bronze and gold medals from London’s 2012 Games – but are not expecting June’s Leeds triathlon atmosphere to be trumped by today in Rio.
Gordon Benson, a fellow Leeds native and teammate to the stars, has spoken about Team GB’s aims before the trio head to the Copacabana Beach startline of the men’s triathlon today at 3pm.
Leeds will be hoping for more medal success when reigning champion Nicola Adams defends her women’s boxing crown in the fly 51kg semi finals tonight at 6pm.
The Yorkshire triathletes have spent time training at a Brazilian air force base near Sao Paulo following a five-week training camp at altitude in St Moritz, Switzerland, to get ready for the Olympics.
“I’m aware of what I’m here to do. I’m here to assist Ali and Jonny as best I can,” Gordon said. “Hopefully we are looking to have a hard race, that’s what we train for and we are training to get gold and silver.”
The tight-knit Team GB triathlon squad, normally based at the Leeds Triathlon Centre, has been preparing to do Yorkshire proud in Rio for months.
But Gordon does not expect the excitement of Rio to match the passion of the home support during the unforgettable Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds earlier this year.
“I don’t think the crowd will be anywhere near as good at the Olympics then it was in Leeds and this is the biggest race in the world,” he said. “You’ve got to respect that we are part of Team GB but the three of us are very proud Yorkshiremen. There’s no place like home.”
Jonny Brownlee believes he is physically in a better place to medal than he was during the London Games. The 26-year-old, who believes as many as 10 triathletes in the men’s field are capable of winning today’s race, said: “From a sporting side this is a bit more my time.
“I just want to medal. It would be awesome for it to be the same as London. To be able to do that is tough.
“Lots of things can go wrong, things you can’t control, but if none of that happens we’ve got a great chance.”
Tonight Nicola Adams will face China’s Ren Cancan, who she beat to claim Olympic women’s boxing gold in 2012.
Ahead of the bout, she said: “This is just as important to me but I’ll be treating it as another day at the office.”
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