Apparently, there were 5,000 tickets for sale, but more than half a million applicants and the most oversubscribed event at the Games. It was estimated there were over 200,000 lining the route for the swim-bike-run event.
Luckily, I found myself a good spot to watch the swimming on the south side of the Serpentine, a large lake in the park. I then made my way down to the cycle track to watch the cycling section, then back to the lake to watch the athletes run the circuit around the Serpentine. Ali, the hot favourite, won the race with his younger brother taking the bronze.
I’d never seen a triathlon before, but there were several things that surprised me about the event. I never realised how quick these guys perform the three events. Ali ran the 10k just a mere 83 seconds slower than Mo Farah did to win the 10,000 metres gold medal, and he walked over the finishing line! Not only that, the running section of the triathlon is nothing like an athletics track and had lots of turns, and even a double-back. Someone from the BBC said last night that if Ali’s time had been compared to the Olympic 10,000 metres final, he wouldn’t have come last. Incredible really.
Triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and with this victory I can only see the growth continuing. This growth will have a lot to do with this extraordinary athlete and his brother.
So today I salute Alistair Brownlee, a true English champion.