Men’s triathlon preview

Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee won triathlon gold at the London 2012 Games.

Two of the three male triathlon medalists from the London 2012 Olympics are favored to medal again at the Rio Games. Even more remarkable: they’re brothers.

Talk about sibling rivalry.

Four years ago, Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee earned gold by crossing the finish line in 1:46:25 – just over 30 seconds faster than brother Jonathan, who won bronze with a 1:46:56 time. Between them, Spain’s Javier Gomez Noya placed second with a 1:46:36 finish.

In the years since the London Games, both Brownlee brothers have continued to excel at their chosen sport. In 2013 and 2014, Jonathan, now 26, placed second and third, respectively, in the ITU World Triathlon Series – the most significant annual triathlon competition. Meanwhile, Alistair, 28, won gold at the 2014 ITU Triathlon World Championships.

Despite their achievements, it looked like both Brownlees could lag behind London silver medalist Gomez Noya, 33, in Rio. After all, the Spaniard won World Championship gold in 2013, 2014 and 2015 – bringing his total number of titles to five (Gomez Noya also won in 2008 and 2010).

But in July, Gomez Noya revealed he had suffered a broken arm in a cycling accident. The injury forced him to withdraw from the Games.

Thursday’s race sees the British brothers as heavy medal favorites. Still, Spanish contenders like Mario Mola (who finished second in the 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series rankings) and Fernando Alarza could very well win Olympic gold.

Catch the men’s triathlon final Thursday at 10:00 AM ET on NBCOlympics.com.

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