Brownlees' smiles mask their pain

Brownlees' smiles mask their pain

Power of two

Brownlees' smiles mask their pain

The Brownlee brothers' incredible demolition of the best of the rest of the world in Thursday's Olympic triathlon might have looked straightforward but to deliver a textbook race they had to go through ‘hell’ first.

Alistair, 28, became the first triathlete to retain an Olympic title and Jonny, 26, added a silver to the bronze he picked up in London.

Alistair took time to savour the moment, walking down the finish chute holding the Union Flag aloft, before collapsing and embracing his brother, who had suffered similarly in the searing heat.

Behind the smiles on the ultimate family portrait, however, is a story of staggering commitment.

A year ago, after racing in pain for years with ankle ligaments battered and torn from years of fell and cross-country running, things eventually became so unbearable that Alistair decided to bite the bullet and go under the knife.

Meanwhile, Jonny's pro­gress was cut short by a stress fracture in his shin which forced hi­m out of the test event.

For men who like to grab their training by the throat, it was difficult to ease their way back. “We worked so hard to get back to our best,” said Jonny. “We’ve pushed each other and helped each other and that's why it was so emotional today.”

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