WHEN Georgia Taylor-Brown stands on the pontoon ready to launch her Olympic Games debut, the Tameside born triathlete may allow herself a fleeting moment of reflection to where it all started.
From Richmond Park, Ashton, to Odaiba Marine Park, Tokyo, Georgia lifelong dream is ready to be realised.
Her journey to be part of one of the world’s biggest sporting occasions sometimes has been as long and arduous as the near 6,000 miles between East Cheshire Harriers’ home base and the Japanese capital.
But Georgia, now 27, has overcome the serious foot injuries which interrupted her blossoming career and conquered the self-doubts to prove herself as a force to be reckoned with.
The former Fairfield High School and Ashton Sixth Form College student won the World Championship in 2020 but has loftier ambitions in the coming weeks.
She is placed second on the Olympic rankings and fourth on the World rankings.
“I expect a lot of myself,” says Georgia in an interview with the Correspondent at Team GB’s kitting out day for triathlon.
“I have been third in the world two years in a row and world champion last year.
“I would love to come away with a medal but so would everyone else. I would be happy with top five and as long as I give it everything that’s all I can do.
“After all, these are my first Olympics and it is all about experience and enjoying it the best I can.”
Georgia, initially selected for Toyko nearly two years ago, has been winning medals virtually all her career.
But she comes from good athletics stock. Dad Darryl Taylor was an accomplished middle-distance runner while mum Beverley was a fine swimmer and athlete too.
After taking the plunge into sport as a five-year-old swimmer, Georgia was soon identified as a runner of potential with East Cheshire and then Sale Harriers under the guidance of ex Great Britain international, Paul Roden.
Twice junior European Triathlon gold medallist, she collected a junior World silver medal and the junior World Duathlon (swimming and run) crown.
Georgia also excelled at cross-country, winning the English National Under 20’s title, the British Universities championship and collecting a European Cross Country senior women’s team bronze.
Her foot issues in 2014 and 2016 interrupted the medals flow but by 2017 Georgia, now based in Leeds, claimed her first ITU World Cup event in Madrid and won the European Under 23 title in Hungary.
In 2019, Georgia captured the AJ Bell World Triathlon in Leeds but at the Tokyo Olympic Qualification event the same year she and team mate Jess Learmouth were disqualified for crossing the line hand-in-hand in celebration.
Three days later, however, she was part of the GB team that finished second in the World Triathlon mixed relays event on the Olympic course.
“It was good to experience the conditions in Tokyo,” she explained. “It’s hot and humid, even the water is instantly hot when you dive in.
“But it is a cool course though tough, quite technical, but flat and lots of chances to get a few groups away.”
Georgia opted not to compete at the recent World Championships in Leeds after suffering a cold in the build-up. And after nearly two years waiting to fulfil her Olympic dream, she didn’t need to put her health or form in jeopardy.
“There was no point doing a hard, slower race where I might pick up another cold again,” she explained.
“It was a tough decision because I love the Leeds course and the whole atmosphere around it
“But I have a bigger event coming up and all my focus and energy is on that. I won’t race before the Games but training has gone really well.”
Last year’s cancellation of the Olympics and restrictions around overseas spectators this time has brought disappointment for Georgia’s parents.
“They have followed my journey from being a little kid,” she said.
“So, mum and dad were excited to book tickets and come out. They even took their pension out early so they could afford to come and watch me.
“It is a shame now they won’t have that chance but at the same time I know they are going to be watching and they are always at the other end of a phone.
“It is strange to look back and think how far I have come. It was always a dream of mine to go to an Olympics even as a young kid.
“But I am here now and I have proved myself.”