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2012 Highlights: Jonathan Brownlee’s brilliant year

20 November 2012 by Erin Greene
2012 Highlights: Jonathan Brownlee’s brilliant year

It’s hard to talk about the 2012 ITU triathlon season without mentioning Jonathan Brownlee (GBR). Although just 22 years old, he has long been a triathlon powerhouse. After his 2010 world title as a junior in Budapest, he made a seamless entry into elite racing, consistently achieving podium results. However, with older brother Alistair and Spain’s Javier Gomez to contend with, Jonathan had yet to add a World Championship title to his list of accolades.

This year, he remedied that problem by capitalizing on his brother’s absence to win three gold and two silver medals in ITU World Triathlon Series races, making him the most successful man on the curcuit this year. If that wasn’t enough, he also captured bronze in his Olympic debut and helped Great Britain defend its Mixed Relay World Championship title.

Jonathan announced his presence this year with a win in his first race of the season in San Diego. Under sunny skies, the Brit blasted in front of a bulky bundle of nearly 50 men in T2 to garner his second career WTS gold in the birthplace of modern triathlon.

He went on to back up the win with another top podium performance in Madrid. There, Jonathan turned his 2011 silver medal to gold with a dominating run, winning by 38 seconds. He kept his hot streak alive in Kitzbuehel finishing second only to older brother Alistair. The race was a strong indicator of what was to come in his next race.

After Kitzbuehel, Jonathan turned his focus to the Olympics where he was favoured for a medal. With his compatriots looking on, he thrived under the pressure, scoring bronze behind Alistair and Gomez in his first Games despite suffering a 15-second penalty.

While some triathletes broke from action following London, Jonathan raced on, sprinting to gold at the ITU World Triathlon Stockholm. Jonathan was part of 13-man crew that exited the bike at an advantage. Gomez, who was in the chase pack, clocked the fastest run split in an attempt to run Jonathan down. But his effort was fruitless, as Jonathan secured first place by six seconds. The next day he played a crucial role in assisting his relay teammates defend Great Britain’s gold in the ITU Mixed Relay World Championships.

While Gomez competed in Yokohama shortly after suffering an injury to secure critical WTS points, Jonathan’s win in Sweden was enough to put him at the top of the WTS leaderboard with just enough cushion to sit the race out. Gomez posted a second-place finish in Japan, making the race for the world championship title a 180–point battle.

With both men in top form in Auckland, they each blazed ahead of the field on the run, running step for step. Although the Brownlees are known for their finishing speed, Gomez kicked into turbo speed to out sprint Jonathan in the final meters. However, Jonathan’s silver medal finish was plenty to earn him his first World Championship title, capping off an incredibly successful season.

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