Alex Yee landed his second gold medal of these Commonwealth Games – and then found himself in the doghouse.
The triathlete put in another spectacular performance as England breezed to victory in the mixed-team relay by 46 seconds. But Wales’s shock silver medal left Yee unusually lost for words.
After the race it transpired that Yee had previously hinted to his partner, Wales’s Olivia Mathias, that they could get a labrador if she helped her team make the podium. But afterwards the pair, who live and train together as part of the GB squad in Loughborough, disagreed on how firm that commitment had been.
“I’m pretty sure we had a deal that if Wales got a medal we could get one, but he’s backtracking,” Mathias said. “My mum and dad would look after it. They’re only half an hour away.”
Yee was not convinced. “I didn’t shake on that,” he shot back, smiling. “I haven’t backtracked. Maybe after the Paris Olympics.” Yee’s teammate Sophie Coldwell, however, backed Mattias. “I heard it,” she said.
But there were no hard feelings as Yee and Matthias expressed their delight at their joint success by hugging and high-fiving at the finish. “It’s our first major Games together,” Mathias said. “We’ve only seen each other at the race sites but it’s really cool that we’re going to be on the podium.”
“We always knew we’d be in with a shot for a medal if everyone had their perfect leg. To get silver is just crazy. We can’t believe that we did it.”
Yee agreed, saying: “Now me and Liv can put ours next to each other. We have just moved house so hopefully there will be a nice place for them somewhere.”
Earlier Yee had put the race to bed on the opening leg, establishing a 20-second lead over the pack, before Coldwell then further pushed England’s advantage. And while it was reduced to 16sec as Samuel Dickinson took it steady on the third leg, Georgia Taylor-Brown confidently brought victory home.
Afterwards Yee praised the thousands who cheered the team to glory at Sutton Park. “It was mental,” he said. “Running down the hill was a bit like the Tour De France, everyone on the sides, helicopter above you. It was a bit surreal. It was really cool.”
There was more triathlon success for England earlier in the day as the visually impaired duo David Ellis and Katie Crowhurst both won gold. The moment was especially sweet for the world No 1 Ellis, guided by Luke Pollard, as a broken bike chain led to him withdrawing from the Paralympics last year when he had been expected to win. “I didn’t want to go through the feeling we had in Tokyo ever again and this is the complete opposite,” he said.
Crowhurst, guided by Jessica Fullager, only took up triathlon during lockdown and was stunned at her win. “This is a pinch me moment,” said Crowhurst, who was the youngest athlete in the field at 18. “I never expected to win a gold.”