partners and Olympic debutants Aaron Royle and Ryan Bailie have given Australia
its first dual top ten finishers in men’s triathlon history at Copacabana
hung on gamely for ninth and Bailie, the boy from Bunbury in WA, had to work
from the chase pack on the bike after two critical moments to put himself in
the race for 10th.
Ryan Fisher, who has been battling a head cold for 48 hours, dug deep
throughout to finish 24th in his first Olympics.
best single performances at an Olympics have come from Greg Bennett (fourth in
Athens 2004) and Miles Stewart (sixth in Sydney 2000).
But the latest
brand of Olympic triathletes aren’t going away quickly – all three quick to
commit to another four years for Tokyo 2020.
In 30 degree
heat and over a brutal bike course the Australians fought hard to stay in touch
with a field driven by two of triathlon’s all-time greats, eventual gold
medallist, Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee and brother Jonathan – who went on
to win gold and silver in another extraordinary display.
Bronze went to
South African youngster Henri Schoeman, who held on to beat fast-finishing
countryman Richard Murray – who produced the fastest 10km run split of the day.
Royle was the
first Australian out of the water in the swim, ensuring he was well inside the
top 10 and while Bailie was not far behind but a bizarre hold up in the
transition area cost him valuable time.
out of the water my helmet was not left on my bike how I left it in transition
so it had obviously been knocked off and my buckle was done up,” said a
cost me a few seconds that can make the difference, one of those critical
moments that you look back on and think ‘what if.’
on the bike I didn't have the legs to go with that first group.
"It was a
second critical moment and I got dropped from the front group and that's pretty
much the race up the road.
"It was just
about trying get to minimise the damage and leave all out there on the run. I
went out hard with Murray but got dropped at about 3ks, then it was a matter of
soul searching and managing that pain.”
Bailie described Rio as an awesome course "a true triathlon course.”
"You've got to be able to swim fast, bike and run well if you want to
medal. I think the organising committee need to be commended on creating a true
triathlon course,” Bailie said.
"Tenth in my first Olympic Games; you've got to be pretty happy with that.
Obviously you always want to win but I gave it my all on the day and I couldn't
have done anything else.”