Alex Yee led home a brilliant performance from Team GB to claim the first Olympic gold medal ever contested in mixed relay triathlon.
The Olympic silver medallist in the men’s triathlon was put into the perfect position by teammates Jess Learmonth, Jonny Brownlee and Georgia Taylor-Brown, who also won silver in the women’s triathlon at Odaiba Marine Park.
Yee set off on the final leg with a 21-second lead over the Americans in second, and while he was joined by world champion Vincent Luis of France on the bike, the 23-year-old had the pace on the run to bring it home.
Yee, 23, from Brockley, said: “These guys did the perfect race up to that point so for me I just wanted to continue that.
“I couldn’t really have asked for much more from brilliant teammates and brilliant support staff.
“I was pretty nervous going onto the last leg but in a way my job was the easy one, I just had to get round and finished first.”
Learmonth had given GB a strong start, finishing in the front group of four with the USA, Germany and the Netherlands.
Learmonth, 33, from Leeds, said: “We had a right laugh didn’t we. I wasn’t that confident. I was slightly nervous. I think, in the relay, you’ve got a lot more pressure than the individual.
“I’m not bothered if I do badly but I’d be very bothered if I messed it up for these guys especially when they’re already medallists.
“I felt a bit of pressure but I just tried to be calm and enjoy, and to be fair I really did enjoy it and it ended really well.”
Brownlee, a bronze and silver medallist at London 2012 and Rio 2016 respectively, then made the decisive move on the run on the second leg, opening up a gap from his rivals.
That meant that Taylor-Brown set off in prime position and she extended the advantage with a brilliant showing before Yee clinched gold in style, with the USA in silver and France in bronze.
Taylor-Brown, 27, from Manchester, said: “I just tried to not panic. Jonny gave me such a big lead, I knew I had a bit of time just to chill out and not stress too much about it because that’s when things can go very wrong.
“I just wanted a comfortable win and be safe on the bike. I knew I needed to give everything I could in that last run to create as much of a gap as I could for little Yee boy.
“It’s the first mixed team relay in the Olympics and we’ve got gold. We couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
It caps a stunning return for GB’s triathletes in Tokyo, with two silver medals in the individual events and now the gold in the maiden mixed relay.
With this medal, Brownlee completes the full set of medals in his final-ever Olympic race.
Brownlee, 31, from Leeds, said: “If someone had told at the start of my Olympic career I’d have three Olympic medals and three different colours I’d have taken that. It’s super special.
“The way we all raced today was amazing. Jess set us up perfectly, we didn’t make any mistakes, we did everything as well as we could and Alex finished it off.
“To finally get a gold medal, I’m quite emotional.
“It’s about time, I keep on trying to get gold medals, [brother] Alistair’s won two so far and to go home with one and get towards matching him is super special.
“And it’s also the first ever mixed team relay in triathlon so we’ve made history in that. I feel like I’ve been a part of a lot of history in my career and that’s just another one.
“It’s capped off my Olympic career amazingly.”