Part of the appeal of the Olympic Games is that they inspire youngsters to get involved in sport. And a perfect example is Mansfield boy Tyler Broome, who might be only nine years old but is already making his mark in triathlon.
Tyler was inspired by watching the Brownleee brothers, Alistair and Jonathan, at the London Olympics in 2012. Now, fittingly coinciding with the Rio Games of 2016, he has won another gold medal after stepping up in age groups.
Exactly a year after he also won gold on his competitive debut, Tyler lined up for the Desford Junior Triathlon, held at Bosworth Community College within the small Leicestershire village.
Twelve months ago, he finished first in the youngest age category, which triggered an amazing first season in his new sport. This time round, he had to switch to the Tristar 1 category, which is for nine and ten-year-olds. But despite having to start at the bottom of the group, he struck gold again, finishing some 30 seconds in front of the runner-up.
The race consisted of longer distances in the three disciplines too. The swim, in an indoor pool, was 150 metres, the bike-ride was two kilometres and the run was 1500 metres. Yet Tyler performed outstandingly to clock a personal-best time in the swim, take first place in the bike-ride and defy very hot weather in the run. His final time was 15 minutes, 42 seconds. It was just the latest event in which Tyler has made the podium, even though he is one of the youngest competitiors in his age group.
Proud mum, Dawn Broome, said: “Having a sponsor this year, plus a new bike, has helped him succeed. We are really excited to see what next year brings when Tyler will be at the top end of his age group.”
Tyler, who is a member of Mansfield Triathlon Club, had to wait patiently until he turned eight before he was allowed to compete. But he made an instant impact, despite almost no previous experience.
“We have been gobsmacked by his success,” added Dawn. “When he watched London 2012, he said he wanted to be the next Brownlee brother! We thought he’d lose interest, but he kept going.”