‘Sport has two new heroes: a couple of nice lads from Yorkshire’ The Times
Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee recently became the first brothers to be together on the podium in an individual sport at the Olympic Games since 1908. Having just a 2 year age difference between them, their rivalry is as famous as their achievements in the triathlon event. While big brother Alistair is the reigning Olympic champion, a back-to-back European champion and a two-time World champion, Jonny is not far behind. He is the reigning World Champion, a two-time World Sprint champion and an Olympic bronze medallist. Oh, and Alistair is also the Commonwealth triathlon champion.
In London 2012, The Brownlee brothers claimed gold and bronze respectively in arguably the Olympics’ most gruelling event. The triathlon is tough both mentally and physically as competitors are put through their paces with a 1.5 km open swim, a 40km cycle ride, finishing with a 10 km run to the finish line. The brothers hail their success to the tough training regime they put themselves through and also feel fortunate that they have each other for motivation when things get tough. The brothers explain their training schedule,” We’re generally out on the bikes, running and swimming six days out of seven. In a standard week, we’ll do an easier run on the Monday morning, then weights, an hour or so swim and then a few hours on the bikes in the evening. Tuesday we’ll do a hard swim session starting early morning, then a spin session on bikes and then a track session at night. Then Wednesday to Saturday we’ll pretty much swim and cycle every day and then add in running sessions. Some sessions are harder than others depending on the program. Then, on Sunday, we don’t take a full day off – we try and do a long ride and run.” Such commitment to success is a fine example and inspiration of what can be achieved when you put your mind to it.
Having achieved so much at such a young age and excelling at almost every sport they put their hands on; their main aim now is to inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Trends show that London 2012 Olympics had a positive effect on 50% of the children in the UK, with increased numbers taking part in some form of sporting event in the aftermath (research by Warburtons). The Brownlee brothers are doing their bit to keep the upward trend of sports and fitness continued by setting up their own triathlon races called the ‘Brownlee tri’ – an open water triathlon series. The races are open to all abilities with ‘super-sprint’ (400m open-water swim, 16km cycle, 2.5km run) and ‘sprint’ (750m open-water swim, 29.5km cycle,5km run) races on offer. The brothers, in a fine gesture to give back something to the community, have also set up their own charity – the Brownlee Foundation – which will offer free triathlons to children in partnership with schools to encourage participation in the sport from a young age. It is clear that the Brownlee brothers want to make a difference and drive participation, rather than basking in the incredible success already achieved.
Champions and fiercest rivals on the field, the brothers at a very young age have inspired many people to follow their successful mantra of hard work and fitness, and have done their country proud. Having recently blown the field away in the 2014 Commonwealth Games Triathlon event (individual and team), the Olympics in Rio 2016 will be another global showcase of the fine talent the UK has to offer in elite triathlon sport.
The Brownlee brothers are the pinnacle of UK triathlon sport. They inspire others. Their mental strength and hard work is exemplary. Their success undeniable.
Feeling unmotivated? Think you can’t achieve your goals? Take note.