Watch: GB's Georgia Taylor-Brown takes silver in triathlon despite suffering a puncture
Georgia Taylor-Brown’s golden hope may have fallen flat in the cruellest of fashions but she pulled off a remarkable comeback for a second British triathlon silver medal in the space of 24 hours.
A puncture on the final lap of the women’s race saw her lose 22 seconds to her fellow leaders going into the 10km run.
On the evidence of gold medallist Flora Duffy, Taylor-Brown might never have beaten the Bermudian to the line but the costly flat denied her a realistic chance of at least having a go.
Undeterred, she clawed her way back, picking off those in front of her, among them team-mate Jess Learmonth, who had led after the swim, and eventually American Katie Zaferes in the silver medal position.
At the test event in Tokyo back in 2019, Taylor-Brown had crossed the line out front hand in hand with Learmonth, only for the British pair to be disqualified.
This time around, the drama came infinitely earlier in the race and it was no mean feat that she managed to limit the lost time to under half-a-minute despite her misfiring bike.
Others had fared less well on the course, atrocious conditions in the aftermath of the tropical storm that had struck Tokyo causing the race to be delayed by 15 minutes.
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When it did begin with the swim in Odaiba Marine Park – ironically a location where swimming is banned in normal times – it was Learmonth and Taylor-Brown who set the pace with the third Briton in the field, Vicky Holland, back in a chasing pack which never got in contention.
Learmonth’s time in the water was remarkably just 20 seconds slower than the men’s champion - Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt - had achieved a day earlier. The trick now was staying up on the bike as three of the field crashed out on a slippery, technical course on the first lap alone.
The lead group started with seven and dropped to six, five and then four with Taylor-Brown’s puncture.
From the start of the run, it was a game of cat and mouse as former world champion Taylor-Brown reeled them in one by one. British Triathlon had said her running was approaching its best, genetically not surprising as the daughter of a former 800m runner, Darryl, who included Seb Coe among his peers in his running heyday.
Taylor-Brown moved into second place by passing Katie Zaferes at the bell, by which point Duffy was over a minute clear. Puncture or no puncture for her rival, it seems likely she would have won a first Olympic gold for Bermuda nonetheless.
The Caribbean island had boasted just one Olympic medal previously, courtesy of Clarence Hill in boxing back in 1976. This time, Duffy delivered the knockout punch.
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