Welcome to the Olympic county of Yorkshire - what are they putting in the water?
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Sunday 05 August 2012
Within the next few days they could have five golds – that’s better than Australia and Russia, and vying with Germany and Italy for sixth place in the medal table. Welcome to the Olympic county of Yorkshire.
With ears still ringing from Jess Ennis’s monumental triumph in the Olympic stadium, more Yorkshire success this week is predicted for Bradford’s Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonathan, who could both make the podium in the triathlon.
Cyclist Ed Clancy just today took bronze at the velodrome in the Olympic contest for cycling’s all-rounder - and may this week add more to his medal total.
Yorkshire folk beyond Sheffield have also shouted themselves hoarse welcoming golds for Hebden’s Andrew Triggs Hodge and Stokesley’s Katherine Copeland on the water at Eton Dorney, with Barnsley’s Clancy and Otley’s Lizzie Armitstead bringing home golds on their bikes.
Although everything has been won in a Team GB vest, Hodge shouted just after her victory that she was “Bringing it back to Yorkshire.”
It could have been even better. The silver for Otley’s Lizzie Armitstead in the women’s cycling road race was a near-miss and Middlesbrough’s Chris Tomlinson was in bronze in the long jump with only a few jumps left.
The Yorkshire Post pushed British pride to one side over the weekend announcing “Treble glory for Yorkshire.”
So is there something special, something unique going on the ‘Yorkshire Triangle’ that links Sheffield, Otley, Stokesley and Barnsley?
The International Centre for East African Running Science at the University of Glasgow has looked at genetic and environmental components affecting performance in distance running.
But the county’s medal haul in rowing, cycling and athletics points to future research of the ‘Yorkshire’ gene being complex. Before 2012 it might have all happened at The Boycott Centre. Now only one name is possible – The Ennis Institute.
So what will they find? A security man at the bio-sciences building at Leeds University wasn’t optimistic. “They’ll find nowt - apart from bloody hard-work making the difference. They should give me a PhD for that.”
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