EDMONTON, August 31, 2014: It was a case of when silver was as good as gold for Gillian Backhouse in Edmonton today when the 22-year-old Brisbane University graduate finished second in the under 23 ITU Triathlon World Championship in Hawrelak Park.
It took Australia’s overall medal tally to 15 – with five gold, four silver and six bronze medals in the first three days of what has been a spectacular event that concludes here tomorrow.
And on a day when two great Australian triathletes –former world champions Emma Carney and Greg Welch were among the first nine inductees into the ITU Hall of Fame – celebrated in conjunction with the World Championships.
Gillian Backhouse 2nd Place
Backhouse, who dedicated the medal to her mum and dad and coach Stephen Moss, cried tears of joy after two hard years of training, largely funded by her parents after she graduated from University with a BSc in Marine Biology and Ecology.
"This is for my mum and dad and coach Steve Moss..I could not have done this without them," said Backhouse, who has had a break through year winning the Chengu World Cup and the World U23 Duathlon Championship and finishing with silver in the Elite.
“They all believed in me and mum and dad have paid for me to live my dream as a triathlete and I can’t thank them enough. I guess I’m emotional because I can’t believe what I have done.
“There were people who didn’t think I could achieve something like this – it’s hard to imagine standing on the dais with a silver medal around my neck.”
And for Backhouse, today was the silver lining on a year she will never forget.
Shy and reserved she was always in the hunt for a medal and came out of the 1.5km swim in fourth place, steering the front bike pack of six through the hilly 40km bike ride and she tried desperately to hang on to the talented German girl Sophie Saller on the 10km run.
In the end it was Saller who raced away to win gold from the brave Backhouse with US girl Erin Jones taking the bronze.
There was a special moment at the end of the medal ceremony when urged by Jones, the three medallists jumped off the podium, for that "oh what a feeling moment."
Meanwhile earlier in the day, her fellow squad member Dan Wilson stormed home to finish 13th in the Elite Men's race at today's ITU Triathlon World Championship Grand Final in Edmonton - the best of the five Australian men in one of the best fields ever assembled.
Wilson, who has a Bachelor of Human Movements and is studying for a Graduate Diploma of Psychology at Queensland University of Technology used all of his experience to hang on in the bike after the field was left in three groups before an Alistair Brownlee dominated breakaway, with much of the field coming together before the run.
The 29-year-old Queenslander produced a powerful final 10km run split of 31.17 - the 10th fastest of the field.
It saw him grab 20th place overall on the competitive ITU World Series Ranking as he now sets his sights on the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Next home for Australia was Ryan Bailie who was 16th (12th overall for 2014); Cameron Good 21st (33rd overall); Aaron Royle 30th (10th overall) and Brendan Sexton 41st (29th overall).
The extraordinary Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Alistair Brownlee (GBR) won the Grand Final race after he was never headed off the bike.
Spain's emerging star Mario Mola finished second after dueling with the dominant force that is Olympic silver medallist Javier Gomez.
But it was Gomez who was again crowned the 2014 World Series Champion for the fourth time from Mola and Jonny Brownlee (GBR) who was fourth in today's Grand Final.