Four years ago and Yorkshire held its breath. The Olympics down in That There London were going well for us, we were fast becoming the golden county and the Fabulous Brownlee Boys were set to up the tally, gold and silver at least, maybe even a double gold if they crossed the line together.
But it wasn’t to be. The pair were separated by their arch rival, Gomez (not from Yorkshire), with Ali castigating his brother for being a numpty in messing up the transition from swim to bike. We had to settle for gold and bronze, we’re hard to please, us Yorkshire folk.
With the Rio Olympics just a few weeks away, the best in the world came to the best place in the world to try out their tri skills in the ITU World Triathlon Championships. Ali and Johnny were racing on the hallowed home water, tarmac and pavement in and around Leeds city centre, their stomping ground. The Yorkshire public expected nothing less than a one-two. And we weren’t disappointed.
The city centre was packed with flag-waving Tykes who were willing the brothers to win and be crowned with a flat cap and presented with a mucky fat sandwich and a bottle of Kirkstall Brewery’s best. The two had already broken away from the pack and were swapping and changing positions with two other competitors who weren’t from Yorkshire.
But once they ditched the bikes, it was Brownlee all the way. We were cheering and yelling in a most unseemly fashion, but we didn’t care. The two were in a different race, they passed us four times, pulling ahead, daring anyone to catch them. No-one did, even the camera guy on the motorcycle was having trouble keeping up. I understand he isn’t from Yorkshire.
The event was a first for the city and the city did us proud. With Le Grand Depart start to the Tour de France and the subsequent Tour de Yorkshire behind us, we are fast becoming the sporting place to be, well we are if you don’t count football.
What a great day, I was so proud of my city, my county and our fantastic athletes. I was proud of my friends who took part in the amateur triathlon in the morning. Happy, happy day. Roll on Rio, I’m looking forward to another Yorkshire triumph!