Alistair Brownlee is a 26 year-old Team England Triathlete from Dewsbury in England.
He was one of the stars of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games, winning the triathlon event in front of an ecstatic home crowd. Alistair is the first British athlete to win an Olympic medal since the event was introduced and was awarded an MBE in January 2013. A glittering career has seen him win 3 European titles and 5 World titles.
Alistair gained entry to study medicine at Cambridge University but opted to change course, studying Sport Science and Physiology at the University of Leeds. This change allowed him to focus on his Triathlon career.
His younger brother Jonathan is also a top Triathlete, himself winning a Bronze medal at London 2012 as well a host of other international honours. Alistair was awarded an MBE for services to Triathlon in the 2013 New Year Honours.
Alistair's hopes for 2014:
"The Commonwealth Games is a very big goal for me in 2014. It's the first time I've been in a position to race in the Commonwealth Games, the last time triathlon was included was in 2006 when I was still a junior.
"Glasgow 2014 will also include the Mixed Team Relay for the first time at a major Games, which will give me the chance of winning two Commonwealth medals. I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity of a second major Games in the UK so soon after London 2012 and I think the atmosphere in Glasgow will be brilliant this summer. I'm really looking forward to it."
Alistair Brownlee Q&A
Below Alistair answers questions from:
- Joseph, Jon and Owen at Clare Mount Sports College, England
- Gabrielle from Pleasant Park School, Canada
- Pupils from Carmyle Primary School, Scotland
- Commonwealth Class
What inspired you to take up Triathlon and how did you get started in the sport?
"It was just another sport to have a go at when I started doing triathlon, to be honest. I was swimming and running and riding my bike to school and so there was a natural fit.
"We like to credit Uncle Simon because he did an Ironman at around the same time, but it's not strictly true and he gets embarrassed with us mentioning it so we keep doing it."
Do you focus on one aspect of the Triathlon when training more than others?
"In terms of hours training we do the least amount of swimming, and the most of cycling but it's the run that gets the most focus because it's the last discipline and when most races are decided. I run every day and a couple of times twice a day. Key sessions are on the track on Tuesday night and on the grass (or sometimes mud) on a Saturday morning."
How often do you have to train?
"I train every day. It amounts to about 35 hours a week:
- Swim 5 times per week
- Cycle 7 times per week
- Run 9 or 10 times per week
"I love it though, and other than the swimming, I get to spend a lot of time outdoors, exploring and enjoying the natural beauty (and sometime rain) of Yorkshire."
What has been the most memorable moment in your career so far?
"Without doubt, the Olympic Games in London. The number of spectators in Hyde Park and the noise they made in support of Jonny and me was just incredible. It was a day I'll never forget and means I will always be able to call myself an Olympic Gold medallist."
How does it feel to be part of an event such as the Commonwealth Games?
"It's brilliant. I think we have been really lucky to have another home, well Great Britain, major event so soon after London and I think it will be great. Triathlon wasn't in the last Commonwealth Games - it was in Melbourne in 2006 but I was too young - so this may be the only opportunity I get to race in it. And there's an added bonus of having two races; the mixed team relay means I've got the chance of two medals."
Will you double up at Glasgow 2014 and run the 10,000 metres as well?
"I really wanted to but I had a few niggly little injuries which disrupted my training ahead of the trials so I wasn't able to be considered for selection."
I can eat whatever I like!”
How do you prepare mentally and physically before a Triathlon event?
"Physically, I get a lot of confidence from having done the amount of training I do. I know when I'm on the start line I'm capable of being there at the end of it, competing for a medal, however the race goes.
"Mentally, I try and stay as relaxed as possible. I run through the transition and maybe some key parts of the course in my head, the experts call it visualisation, but it's about keeping calm."
What type of foods do you have to eat and is it difficult to keep to a healthy diet?
"I love answering this question because with all the training I do, I can eat whatever I like! However, I do eat a very balanced diet, with lots of fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Protein, which means meat to me, is also important to help repair muscles. I also use sports nutrition products like gels and bars when on the bike and an electrolyte drink to keep me hydrated."
Gabrielle from Pleasant Park School in Ottawa, Canada says "I think it is pretty cool that you raced your brother" and asks:
How did you feel when you won the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games?
A whole mix of emotions really. Relief when it was over, concern if Jonny was going to hang on to third, proud for having won, proud to be on the podium with Jonny, knackered from the race, excited to hold the Gold medal, a whole host of them really.
Join a club or train with other people because that always makes it more fun”
How do you feel about competing against your brother?
"Absolutely fine, as long as I keep beating him! It's been happening since we were young boys, in our parents back garden, so we are both very used to it. We race the same way in triathlon and have similar strengths, so it's good having him alongside me on the start line."
What's been the biggest challenge so far in your career?
"I think it was getting back from injury in time for the Olympics. I had great support from the medical team around me and they were a huge influence; pushing me on when it was safe to, and more importantly holding me back when I was getting impatient. I had a tear in my Achilles tendon resulting in 3 weeks in a 'boot' in February and was back racing in Kitzbuhel towards the end of June. It was a tough time."
What advice would you give to young people who want to take up Triathlon?
"Enjoy it, it's meant to be fun.
"Join a club or train with other people because that always makes it more fun, out riding or running together, sharing information and stories."
If you weren't a Triathlete, what would you like to have been?
"Both my Mum and Dad are doctors and I did a term reading medicine at Cambridge, so I might have been a doctor, but I haven't given it much thought."
Alistair Brownlee's motivation
Alistair who now has his sights set on the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow reveals in the film below what motivates him to get out of bed at 6am on a Friday in the middle of winter.