Belfast Telegraph

Billy on the Box: Nowhere to Hyde as Mola sinks his teeth into Beeb's favourite siblings

By Billy Weir

It wasn't so much the fabulous Brownlee boys as the brothers grim for BBC1 on Saturday afternoon as the much vaunted return of Britain's golden pair (well, one gold, one bronze) came back to the scene of their triathlon triumph of 2012.

Apparently, and I must have missed this, the Olympics were held in London back then and two years on the World Series returned to Hyde Park where sibling rivals, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, were keen to repeat their heroics.

Not as keen as presenter Sonali Shah and her team who spent most of the afternoon talking them up, well, once we got the opening credits of obligatory shots of London landmarks out of the way. Surely people know by now where Big Ben and Nelson's Column live?

Must be why the series never comes to Larne as there are only so many shots of Inver Park and Ballylumford Power Station you can show.

But power has switched (clever, eh?) in the past couple of years as Spaniard Javier Gomez is well ahead in this year's Series, but something underhand was afoot as Shah promised us 'an afternoon of high octane action.'

Before we could check if a couple of bikes from Yorkshire were being powered by more than sinewy legs, the case was proven beyond doubt as she confirmed 'it's going to be fast, it's going to be furious'. Not half as fuming as the Beeb were to be later as the home pair didn't make the podium.

Shah got their defence in early, telling us before the start that 'they're looking to peak for the Commonwealth Games; of course, Gomez doesn't have that to worry about.' He must be gutted.

For his part he was keen to point out that 'we are not machines, we are humans', so that was a relief, but not good news as co-commentator Steve Trew warned that the petrol-fuelled Brownlees 'will be on fire today'.

Thankfully the swim was up first to quench the flames, although everyone seemed to have been afflicted with an illness that made their heads go orange, making the Serpentine look like seals had been abandoned with only giant Wotsits for food.

Things were bound to turn nasty – and they did. Commentator Matt Chilton, who, like the rest of us, hadn't a clue which orange-headed swimmer was leading, talked us through a brief skirmish.

"Someone has taken an elbow in the ear. We get a little bit of mayhem at times in these situations, hands go on heads, swim caps get ripped off and goggles can get dislodged," he warned. Indeed, sometimes nails can be chipped.

Not much happened until they got off their bikes and started on the 5k run to the finish and suddenly, much to the BBC's dismay, some other pesky runners joined up with the Brownlees and Snr Gomez.

Alistair was keeping the home fires burning, joined by a Portuguese athlete called Joao Pereira, who hadn't merited a mention, South African Richard Murray and another Spaniard, Mario Mola, who sprinted over the line first with, appropriately, a big, toothy grin.

"Is this a new generation for triathlon?" asked reporter Graham Bell to Snr Mola, who, carefully deliberated and responded 'I don't know' but Bell was not deterred.

"You train with Richard Murray, were you scared of his legs?" he asked, and Mola, who clearly also didn't have the Commonwealth Games to weigh him down, ignored that question too and responded that 'when I saw the blue carpet I dug deep', which was probably some cryptic message to the Spanish Secreto Servico to force the head of state to abdicate.

And so the British kings are, perhaps not dead but a wee bit sore, and a new Spaniard is on the throne, but at least the Commonwealths are a certainty. Unless a big South African with scary legs comes to Glasgow. Oh ...

Belfast Telegraph


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