Beaten Gomez says best man won gold
LONDON, AUG 7 - The look on Javier Gomez's face after a morning's brutal racing over 54.5 kilometers of swimming, cycling and running around central London on Tuesday was one of grudging acceptance.
He had given it his all, but for a second Olympic Games, the triathlon gold medal had eluded him.
The world's second best triathlete realized long ago that if one of the Brownlee brothers doesn't beat him in a race, then the other is likely to push him all the way.
Spain's Gomez had gone into the 2008 Olympic triathlon as the world champion and favorite for gold, only to finish seconds outside the medal places after attacking for much of the final run stage on the tough Beijing course.
This time, the 29-year-old at least won the silver medal, finishing between British brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee after some fast racing in and around Hyde Park.
"Alistair showed he was the strongest today, and I was the second strongest. So it was fair," he said.
It is a situation with which Gomez has become familiar since Alistair, at 24 the elder of the Brownlees, launched his senior professional career. In 2009, Brownlee started five world series races and won all five.
Gomez and Alistair Brownlee have swapped the world title between them ever since, the Spaniard winning it in 2010, the Briton in 2011.
It looks as if it might be Gomez's turn in 2012, since Brownlee's absence for much of the early part of this season due to injury means he will not be able to qualify for the grand final.
That might prove to be scant consolation for Gomez, especially if, as suggested on Tuesday, Alistair decides to help 22-year-old Jonathan towards a first world title: the younger Brownlee won two world series races earlier this year.
Gomez had no complaints about the Olympic race outcome, nor the tactics deployed by the British team, which used Stuart Hayes as a pace-setter on the bike stage.
"I thought it probably wouldn't be so bad for me if there was a small breakaway at the front," said Gomez, who lives and trains in Switzerland, a popular training venue for many professional triathletes.
"It was a pretty quick run, especially on the first lap," Gomez said. "I knew Jonathan Brownlee had to stop for a penalty, so I knew I just had to hang on to Alistair for as long as I could.
"But when you run close to 29 minutes for 10K, I couldn't do much more today. I am pretty happy with that, I think it was my best race this year."
The result means Gomez, who has finished in the top 10 in 65 of his 70 international races, will have to wait four more years for another chance at gold.
"I hope I will be in Rio with a medal chance," said Gomez. "I'll be 33 in 2016, so hopefully I'll still be fit and enjoying the sport."
(editing by Michael Holden)