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Alistair Brownlee facts for kids

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Alistair Brownlee
Alistair Brownlee (cropped).jpg
Brownlee at Our Greatest Team Parade in 2012
Personal information
Nickname(s) Al
Born (1988-04-23) 23 April 1988 (age 34)
Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England
Education Bradford Grammar School, University of Leeds & Leeds Metropolitan University
Height 1.84 m
Weight 70 kg
Country England / Great Britain
Club Bingley Harriers
Leeds Metropolitan University
Team Corus
Coached by Malcolm Brown
Jack Maitland
Medal record
Representing  Great Britain
Men's triathlon
Olympic Games
Gold 2012 London Individual
Gold 2016 Rio de Janeiro Individual
ITU Triathlon World Championships
Gold 2009 Gold Coast Individual
Gold 2011 Lausanne Team
Gold 2011 Beijing Individual
Gold 2014 Hamburg Team
Bronze 2011 Lausanne Sprint
Ironman 70.3 World Championship
Silver 2019 Nice Individual
Silver 2018 Port Elizabeth Individual
European Triathlon Championships
Gold 2010 Athlone Individual
Gold 2011 Pontevedra Individual
Gold 2014 Kitzbuhel Individual
Gold 2019 Weert Individual
ITU Triathlon Junior World Championships
Gold 2006 Lausanne Junior
Gold 2008 Vancouver U23
Silver 2007 Hamburg Junior
European Junior Triathlon Championships
Bronze 2006 Autun Junior
Gold 2007 Copenhagen Junior
Men's duathlon
ITU Duathlon World Championships
Silver 2006 Corner Brook Junior
Men's aquathlon
ITU Aquathlon World Championships
Gold Cozumel 2016 Individual
Representing  England
Men's triathlon
Commonwealth Games
Gold 2014 Glasgow Triathlon
Gold 2014 Glasgow Mixed team relay
Silver 2018 Gold Coast Mixed team relay

Alistair Edward Brownlee MBE (born 23 April 1988) is a British triathlete. He is the only athlete to hold two Olympic titles in the triathlon event, winning gold medals in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. He is also a four-time World Champion in triatlon being Triathlon World Champion twice (2009, 2011) and World Team Champion (2011, 2014) twice, a four-time European Champion (2010, 2011, 2014, 2019), and the 2014 Commonwealth champion. Brownlee is the only athlete, male or female, to have completed a grand slam of Olympic, World, continental and Commonwealth championships. Brownlee is also a one-time world champion in aquathlon.

His brother Jonathan Brownlee is also a decorated triathlete, winning a team Gold in 2021 at the inaugural Triathlon mixed relay at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, placing second in the 2016 Olympics, placing third in the 2012 Olympics, and winning the 2012 World Championship and the World Sprint Triathlon Championship in 2010 and 2011, as well as accompanying his brother in their World and Commonwealth mixed team relay victories. Along with long time Spanish rivals Mario Mola and Javier Gómez, and Frenchman Vincent Luis, the Brownlee brothers were considered the dominant male Olympic distance triathletes of the 2010s, and the Brownlees were particular dominant in the Olympic triathlon races.

Brownlee was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to sport.

Early life and education

Brownlee was educated at Bradford Grammar School, a co-educational independent school in the city of Bradford in Yorkshire. He then started a medicine degree at Girton College, Cambridge, but left after just the first term having decided instead to study Sports Science and Physiology at the University of Leeds, where he gained his degree in 2010. He also completed an MSc in Finance in 2013 at Leeds Metropolitan University.

His father Keith was a runner, while his mother Cathy was a swimmer. The eldest of three boys, he has two younger brothers, Jonathan and Edward (b.1995). His younger brother Jonathan Brownlee is also a triathlete, winning the bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, the silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics, and a gold medal in the mixed relay triathlon at the 2020 Summer Olympics and his youngest brother Edward is also a keen sportsman but prefers rugby and water polo over the triathlon.

Brownlee was introduced to triathlon at a young age by his uncle, Simon Hearnshaw, who regularly competed in the sport. As a junior, he was a successful fell and cross country runner, coming second in the Junior English Cross Country Championships and winning the Yorkshire County title on several occasions.

He has said that "It was only when I won the World Junior Championships in 2006 that I made the conscious decision to really focus on triathlon". This was when Brownlee left Cambridge to move back to Yorkshire, focus on triathlon and study at the University of Leeds. He described his decision to leave Cambridge to a student newspaper there in 2013, saying "trying to fit 30+ hours of training around my degree was pretty impossible. I decided that triathlon was my true passion, so I moved back to study at Leeds on a less demanding course, and in a city where the sport was well supported at the time by British Triathlon". He was a member of the triathlon club based at Leeds Metropolitan University's Carnegie High Performance centre, and was coached by Carnegie Director of Sport Malcolm Brown, and in swimming by Jack Maitland.

Triathlon career

Alistair Brownlee Hyde Park 2011
Alistair Brownlee wins the Hyde Park Triathlon, London, August 2011

Brownlee represented Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the triathlon event, finishing in 12th place and first British competitor. During the 2008 season, his best world cup finish was 3rd place in Madrid and he also won the under-23 world championship.

He won the 2009 ITU Triathlon World Championship, winning all five of the season's ITU World Championship Series events in which he competed. He was victorious in Madrid, Washington D.C, Kitzbühel and London before winning the 2009 season Grand Final, held on Australia's Gold Coast on 12 September and thereby became the first person ever to win the ITU world Triathlon titles for Junior Men (2006), Under 23 Men (2008) and Senior Men (2009).

During the 2010 off season, Brownlee sustained a stress fracture of the femur and was not able to return to competition until June, which made defence of his ITU title almost impossible. He did however mark his return to competitive triathlon with a convincing win in Madrid, followed a month later with the European Triathlon Union (ETU) Championships title. Collapsing with exhaustion at the London race in late July, meant that despite winning the final race of the 2010 ITU Series in Budapest, he lost his overall World Championship title to Javier Gómez.

In the April opening event of the 2011 ITU Championship season in Sydney, Brownlee suffered a heavy fall while in the lead which brought early disappointment and a 29th-place finish. This was contrasted with outstanding success when, in the space of just twenty-one days during June 2011, he convincingly won the next two ITU series events (in Madrid and Kitzbühel) and, following a puncture whilst in the lead and having to make up more than 30 seconds on the new leaders, successfully defended his European title at the 2011 Pontevedra ETU Triathlon European Championships and shared the podium with his brother Jonathan, who took the silver medal. Alistair won the 2011 ITU world title, after winning the Grand Final in Beijing and the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics, while his brother took the bronze medal.

Brownlee won the Commonwealth Games Triathlon in 2014, controlling the race with his brother from the start, before pulling away on the first lap of the run in dominating style; Jonathan took the silver medal. Brownlee also took gold in the mixed triathlon team relay at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, with brother Jonathan, Vicky Holland and Jodie Stimpson.

At the final race of the 2016 World Triathlon Series in Cozumel, Mexico, his brother Jonathan, who had been leading comfortably as they headed into the final kilometre of the 10 km run, began to show the effects of heat and exhaustion, weaving across the course and appearing to be on the verge of collapse. Alistair abandoned his own chance of winning the race, instead opting to assist his brother over the line, finally pushing him to a second-place finish and coming in third himself. The South African Henri Schoeman, who had won bronze behind the Brownlees in Rio, overtook the Brownlee brothers to win the race.

Brownlee made his long-course debut at the half-iron distance Challenge Mogan-Gran Canaria triathlon in April 2017, which he won in a time of 4:03:09, finishing over eight minutes ahead of the runner-up. He took another win the following month when he triumphed in the North American Ironman 70.3 Championships in St. George, Utah, which secured his place in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in September 2017.


  • Seven time Yorkshire Cross Country Champion (U13–Senior)
  • Seven time Yorkshire fellrunning champion
  • 2006 Junior European Duathlon Champion
  • 2006 Junior World Champion
  • 2007 Junior European Champion
  • 2007 Junior World Vice-Champion
  • 2008 U23 World Champion
  • 2009 Hyde Park Triathlon Champion
  • 2009 British National Elite Duathlon Champion
  • 2009 ITU World Champion
  • 2010 ETU European Champion
  • 2011 World Team Champion
  • 2011 ETU European Champion
  • 2011 ITU World Champion
  • 2012 World Team Champion
  • 2012 Olympic Champion
  • 2014 European Champion
  • 2014 World Team Champion
  • 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion
  • 2014 Commonwealth Games Team Gold
  • 2016 Olympic Champion
  • 2016 Aquathlon Champion

ITU competitions

In the six years from 2005 to 2010, Alistair Brownlee took part in 31 ITU competitions and achieved 24 top ten positions, among which were 13 gold medals, 5 silver medals, and 2 bronze medals.

  • 2008, won the U23 World Championship and placed 12th at the Olympic Games in Beijing.
  • 2009, won the Dextro Energy World Championship Series placing first in almost all of the circuit's triathlons (i.e. Madrid, Washington DC, Kitzbühel, London, and Gold Coast).
  • 2010, opened the season with the European Championship gold medal but subsequently had to put up with a stress fracture of the femur.
  • 2011, won the World Championship Series triathlons in Madrid and Kitzbühel, leading the ITU World Championship ranking, and crowned himself again European Elite Champion.

The following list is based upon the official ITU rankings and the ITU Athlete's Profile Page. Unless indicated otherwise, the following events are triathlons (Olympic Distance) and refer to the Elite category.

Date Competition Place Rank
  23 July 2005   European Championships (Junior) Alexandroupoli(s) 19
  24 July 2005   European Championships (Junior Relay) Alexandroupoli(s) 6
  10 September 2005   World Championships (Junior) Gamagori 41
  23 June 2006   European Championships (Junior) Autun 3
  8 July 2006   Junior European Cup Rijeka 1
  29 July 2006   Duathlon World Championships (Junior) Corner Brook 2
  2 September 2006   World Championships (Junior) Lausanne 1
  7 October 2006   Duathlon European Championships Rimini 1
  19 May 2007   Duathlon World Championships (Junior) Győr 2
  16 June 2007   Duathlon European Championships (Junior) Edinburgh DNS
  29 June 2007   European Championships (Junior) Copenhagen 1
  29 July 2007   BG World Cup Salford 20
  30 August 2007   BG World Championships (Junior) Hamburg 2
  7 October 2007   BG World Cup Rhodes 2
  30 March 2008   BG World Cup Mooloolaba 43
  6 April 2008   BG World Cup New Plymouth 49
  10 May 2008   European Championships Lisbon 15
  25 May 2008   BG World Cup Madrid 3
  5 June 2008   BG World Championships (U23) Vancouver 1
  22 June 2008   World Cup Hy-Vee 7
  18 August 2008   Olympic Games Beijing 12
  31 May 2009   Dextro Energy World Championship Series Madrid 1
  21 June 2009   Dextro Energy World Championship Series Washington DC 1
  2 July 2009   ETU European Championships Holten 2
  11 July 2009   Dextro Energy World Championship Series Kitzbühel 1
  15 August 2009   Dextro Energy World Championship Series London 1
  9 September 2009   Dextro Energy World Championship Series, Grand Final Gold Coast 1
  5 June 2010   Dextro Energy World Championship Series Madrid 1
  3 July 2010   ETU European Championships Athlone 1
  24 July 2010   Dextro Energy World Championship Series London 10
  14 August 2010   Dextro Energy World Championship Series Kitzbühel 40
  8 September 2010   Dextro Energy World Championship Series, Grand Final Budapest 1
  9 April 2011   Dextro Energy World Championship Series Sydney 29
  4 June 2011   Dextro Energy World Championship Series Madrid 1
  18 June 2011   Dextro Energy World Championship Series Kitzbühel 1
  24 June 2011   ETU European Championships Pontevedra 1
  7 August 2011   Dextro Energy World Championship Series London 1
  20 August 2011   Dextro Energy Sprint World Championships Lausanne 1
  21 August 2012   ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships Lausanne 1
  10 September 2011   Dextro Energy World Championship Grand Final Beijing 1
  24 June 2012   ITU World Triathlon Series Kitzbühel 1
  7 August 2012   Olympic Games London 1
  19 April 2013   ITU World Triathlon Series San Diego 1
  6 July 2013   ITU World Triathlon Series Kitzbühel 1
  20 July 2013   ITU World Triathlon Series Hamburg 2
  21 July 2013   ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships Hamburg DNF
  24 August 2013   ITU World Triathlon Series Stockholm 1
  11 September 2013   ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final London 52
  17 May 2014   ITU World Triathlon Series Yokohama 4
  31 May 2014   ITU World Triathlon Series London 4
  20 June 2014   ETU World Triathlon Series Kitzbühel 1
  12 July 2014   ITU World Triathlon Series Hamburg 1
  13 July 2014   ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships Hamburg 1
  24 July 2014   Commonwealth Games Glasgow 1
  24 July 2014   Commonwealth Games Mixed Relay Glasgow 1
  23 August 2014   ITU World Triathlon Series (Sprint) Stockholm 2
  29 August 2014   ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final Edmonton 1
  25 April 2015   ITU World Triathlon Series Cape Town 1
  16 May 2015   ITU World Triathlon Series Yokohama 2
  30 May 2015   ITU World Triathlon Series (Sprint) London 1
  2 August 2015   ITU Olympic Qualification Event Rio de Janeiro 10
  9 April 2016   ITU World Triathlon Series Gold Coast 36
  11 June 2016   ITU World Triathlon Series Leeds 1
  2 July 2016   ITU World Triathlon Series Stockholm 1
  18 August 2016   Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 1

Key: BG = British Gas (the sponsor); DNF = Did not finish; DNS = Did not start; U23 = Under 23

French Club Championship Series

In 2010, only the femur fracture could slow Brownlee's dominance for some time. At the opening triathlon in Dunkirk (23 May 2010), Alistair was not present, his brother Jonathan won the gold medal. At Beauvais (13 June 2010) Alistair placed 9th. At the Triathlon de Paris (18 July 2010), however, and at Tourangeaux (29 August 2010), Brownlee won the gold medals again. At the Grand Final in La Baule (Triathlon Audencia, 18 September 2010), Alistair placed 2nd, Jonathan 3rd, and their rival Javier Gómez Noya won gold.

In 2011, Brownlee took part in the French Club Championship Series Lyonnaise des Eaux representing the club ECS Triathlon, which, thanks to the Brownlee brothers and Javier Gómez Noya, had already won the Club Championship in 2010. At Nice (24 April 2011), Dunkirk (22 May 2011), and Paris (9 July 2011) Brownlee was the winner.

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