Dubai: He possesses two already, and the prospect of a hat-trick is that tempting drive that may eventually see Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee line-up at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Hailed as the greatest British triathlete thus far, Brownlee has more than endorsed his status and standing. After winning gold at the debuting triathlon at London Olympics in 2012, Brownlee successfully defended his crown in Rio de Janeiro four years later.
Other than this, the 29-year-old is also a two-time Triathlon World Champion having won in 2009 and 2011, a two-time World Team Champion [2011 and 2014] a three-time European Champion and the defending Commonwealth Champion having won the crown in 2014 closer home in Glasgow.
So far, he is the only athlete to win two Olympic titles in triathlon, and this with his other exploits, earned him the honour of being appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for his services to his sport.
However, his sport is known for the demands made on the body. The Olympic triathlon is the kinder sort with a swim of 1.5km followed by a cycling route of 40km and a run of 10km. The Ironman 70.3, also known as a Half Ironman, consists of a 1.9km swim, a 90km cycle ride followed by a 21.1km run. During his career, Brownlee dabbled in both and the adverse effects were felt mid-season last year. This led the British triathlete to go in for a restructuring surgery on his hamstring while forcing him to be out of his sport for months on end while choosing last Friday’s Ironman 70.3 in Dubai to mark his comeback.
“Right now you know as much as I about what to expect. After spending four weeks on crutches, four weeks without doing any sort of swimming and four months in total without any sort of physical activity, it looks like a long time out of sport for anyone,” Brownlee told media at the pre-event press conference at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel last week.
“The fact is that I am here at last. I want to be at the start line, and hopefully I can also cross the finish line in first place every time I compete … or at least that is the idea. Right now, I am simply grateful and happy to be back to do something that I have loved all my life,” he added.
This is not the first time that Brownlee has been felled by injury. During the 2010 off-season, he sustained a stress facture of the femur and was unable to return to competition till the middle of the year making the defence of his ITU title almost impossible while surrendering it to Spaniard Javier Gomez.
The following year at the opening event of the ITU Championship in Sydney, Brownlee suffered a heavy fall while in the lead bringing him an early disappointment. But, after that it was a show of guts all the way as the British athlete won the first of his two Olympic gold medals in London while brother Jonathan took the bronze. “If you ask me what I want to do I really wouldn’t know how to answer that question. But I do know I want to race and that is the reason why I am travelling again. Injuries are a part of sport and as much as I enjoy competing, I believe there comes a time when we need to give the body time to recover and recuperate. I have enjoyed getting the entire rehab programme done, and as such just being at the start line is a huge accomplishment for me at the moment,” he beamed.
Given this scenario, the Tokyo Olympics seem to be some distance away for the moment. “I would like to take things one season at a time. Let me see how I feel at the end of this season first. Once this year is over I will decide if I want to earnestly start preparing for the Games in Tokyo,” he stressed.
Name: Alistair Edward Brownlee
Date of Birth: April 23, 1988
Place of Birth: Dewsburg, West Yorkshire, England
Coaches: Malcolm Brown and Jack Maitland
Gold medal at 2012 London Olympics
Gold medal at 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics
Gold medal at 2009 ITU Triathlon World Championships in Gold Coast
Gold medal at 2011 ITU Triathlon World Championships in Lausanne
Gold medal at 2011 ITU Triathlon World Championships in Beijing
Gold medal at 2014 ITU Triathlon World Championships in Hamburg
Gold medals in Men’s and Mixed Team Relay at 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games