The British Triathlon Mixed Team Relay of Jess Learmonth, Gordon Benson, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee put in a strong performance to secure silver on the final day in Tokyo.
Learmonth, who led off the team in leg one, showed her impressive swimming skills to come out of the swim in the lead and came out of T1 alongside USA’s Summer Rappaport.
She looked strong throughout the bike leg and made a move with one lap to go. She came out of T2 in charge of the race and extended her lead through her well-paced run leg.
She handed over to Benson with a twenty-second lead over the field and the Brit came out of the swim still holding the lead that Learmonth carved out.
He had a strong transition and got out onto the bike on his own and on the second leg of the bike leg he had a lead of 16 seconds.
Taylor-Brown looked comfortable throughout the swim and bike leg but was caught up by France’s Leonie Periault on the run leg.
The pair handed over to the final athletes at the same time and Great Britain’s Alex Yee powered towards the water. He gained some time after Dorian Coninx slipped on the approach to the water but was overtaken in the swim.
Yee put in a strong bike leg to stay in a good position ahead of his strongest discipline. The run started with Yee leading Coninx and Ben Kanute (USA) but on the final lap Yee and Coninx hit another gear and took the race away from Kanute.
The relay came down to a photo finish and Coninx just pipped Yee to the gold medal.
“It was a great race and a great fight,” Yee said. “I gave it everything I had and today it wasn’t quite enough but I am proud of myself for giving it all I had. These guys put me in a fantastic position and I can’t thank them enough.”
Benson added: “It’s great to get a medal today. It’s great to be in the mix for selection too and I just enjoy being part of a great team and I am delighted to come away with the silver medal. Jess put me in a great position. I was out front and just had to manage my effort and I think I handled it quite well. I’m really happy with my performance and the whole team’s performance today.”
Taylor-Brown said: “That medal means a lot to me. It is nice to finally get on the podium and it’s good to be up there and we’ve had a lot of support which has been so nice. I didn’t have a great leg. I died quite a bit but the team did amazing and I am super proud of us all today.”
Learmonth concluded: “I’ve not done many relays and I have to be honest that they haven’t been great experiences for me so to do that on the Olympic course and to be a part of the team is really nice. I think everyone individually did amazing. I tried to get away in the swim because I didn’t want to leave it to the run and that seemed to work well today. I am so glad it worked today and I could give the team a lead.”
Mike Cavendish, Performance Director, summed up the weekend: “I think we can take a lot of positives out of the performances of our athletes from across the competition. What was most important for us here was how the athletes performed and coped with the conditions and what we’ve seen is all of our athletes putting in strong performances and recovering well. The four-day competition was definitely topped off by the excellent performance of our relay team.
“The importance of the test event was to see what conditions would be like ahead of next year and I think both the Elite and Paratriathlon squads have learnt a lot but what’s really pleasing is that I think we can do more to be even better prepared for the Games next year.”