IT IS not difficult to see why Helen Jenkins is second favourite to win this afternoon’s women’s triathlon on the penultimate day of the Rio Olympics Games.
Four years after finishing 21st on her Olympics debut in Beijing, the Welsh-based athlete was Britain’s highest placed finisher in fifth at London 2012, despite having a seriously disrupted preparation due to a knee injury.
Four years on, three podium finishes in this year’s ITU World Triathlon Series prove the 32-year-old is as good as ever.
But Jenkins knows she is not Britain’s only hope of a medal and it is the company of fellow live chances Non Stanford and Vicky Holland that has the world No 5 in a relaxed frame of mind approaching what may prove her final chance to bag a medal at an Olympic Games.
Jenkins, Stanford and Holland will carry the hopes of a nation in this afternoon’s women’s triathlon at Fort Copacabana, two days after Alistair (gold) and Jonny (silver) Brownlee and Gordon Benson flew the flag not just for Britain, but for Yorkshire and Leeds, in the men’s event.
With Holland and Stanford also based in Leeds, it is only the presence of Jenkins that prevents Yorkshire being responsible for every triathlete competing for Team GB at this summer’s Olympic Games.
As far as the women’s event goes, it could well be that the only non-Yorkshire GB athlete is also the strongest.
Jenkins said: “It’s exciting to be part of such a strong team and I think it almost takes the pressure off a little bit.
“You have got three I suppose medal contenders going so it’s not like all the pressures are focused on one person.
“That’s quite nice to almost share that load a little bit.
“I feel in good shape but I think this course in Rio – while it is such a tough course – really suits all three of us.”