Brownlee brothers win Olympic gold and bronze in London 2012 triathlon
7 August 2012
University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University have heaped praise on their gold and bronze medal winning students, the Brownlee brothers after a brilliant performance in front of a huge Hyde Park crowd in the London 2012 triathlon.
University of Leeds graduate and Leeds Metropolitan University MSc student Alistair Brownlee became Team GB's first Olympic champion in triathlon on Tuesday whilst his younger brother, University of Leeds student Jonny claimed a bronze medal.
The Brownlee brothers, who also both regularly train at Leeds universities' facilities, battled through the Serpentine river, cycled and sprinted to the Olympic podium medal positions.
Only Spain's Javier Gomez, who picked up a silver medal, could split the Yorkshire-based brothers on the day.
Tens of thousands of jubilant Great British fans cheered and watched the action in what was mainly a non-ticketed event, as Alistair, draped in a Team GB flag, sauntered to the finish line - with his sibling rival not too far behind him.
Head of Sport and Physical Activity at the University of Leeds Rob Wadsworth, who was in Hyde Park, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for Alistair and Jonny who have given everything to get up on that podium today.
"Not only have they taken gold and bronze, but they will go down in history as the first British athletes to win medals in the triathlon at an Olympic Games. Everyone at the University is immensely proud of them, especially those who’ve helped Alistair and Jonny balance their studies and training over the last few years.”
Whilst Leeds Metropolitan University was quick to tweet its delight, saying: "Massive congrats to Leeds Met student @AliBrownleetri as he takes Gold for @TeamGB ! Great Bronze for @jonny_brownlee too."
Reacting to more student success at the Olympic Games, David Fletcher, Director of Sport Psychology Support Services at Loughborough University paid tribute to Alistair's mental toughness to win Olympic gold and singled out the crucial role that Higher Education played in the brothers' success.
He told Podium immediately after the race: "I think what's particularly impressive about Alistair is how he's come back from his achilles injury, as that was a really devastating blow to his early season, so not only has he showed the mental toughness and all the resilience in terms of the training that's required at this level - he's demonstrated this in terms of his injury to win gold.
"The two brothers are quite humble lads and the fact that they still live in Yorkshire, train together and are both students show they are grounded people and very good at what they do.
"The thing that strikes me about both of them is that they are there for each other, and although they are competing against one another, they make a really good team in terms of their training and preparation."
As the brothers are still studying away from elite triathlon, Podium Games Expert David said the Higher Education sector has contributed to the Yorkshire duo's success.
"Higher Education allows athletes to compete and train at the same time so they don't have to sacrifice their education. Importantly university education provides them with a welcome distraction because these athletes can't live and breathe the sport 24-7.
"A University course does provide something different. Universities provide an environment where you have these facilities, sports science - so I think universities offer a lot to elite level athletes."
Floods of congratulatory messages of support have come in from across the UK for the triathlon brothers, including from Prime Minister David Cameron, who tweeted: "The Brownlee brothers showed true grit and determination to gain a fantastic triathlon gold and bronze".
Stuart Hayes, the British triathlete who's unselfish work played a key role in helping the Brownlees reach the medal podium, told the BBC: "It's all about the Brownlee brothers, this is a great day for British triathlon."
By Stuart Appleby
Join the 2419 followers of @PodiumFor2012
Rutherford looking for giant leap ahead of worlds http://www.teamgb.com/news/rutherford-looking-giant-leap-ahead-worlds #Athletics
Horsepool sets high standards for Sochi-bound speed skaters http://www.teamgb.com/news/horsepool-sets-high-standards-sochi-bound-speed-skaters #SpeedSkating
"@katyjgriffiths: we just met your bro!literally so excited right now!!! " haha so it was you guys that rang!