triathlete Alistair Brownlee on what it takes to be the best

triathlete Alistair Brownlee on what it takes to be the best

Ahead of the World Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii, double Olympic gold triathlete Alistair Brownlee explains how sport can change children’s lives

The below photo is of my brother Jonny and me, before a bike ride with our dad in the holidays. I was nine, and Jonny seven, and we were staying at our family summer house in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales.
I started sport when I was six, because I wanted to win medals. My mum had been a swimmer as a child, so she took me down to join the local club. Around the same time, I started under-10s school cross-country running. I was pretty rubbish because I was so young, but I kept going.
My first triathlon took place in Nottingham in the summer of 1996, when I was eight years old. I wanted to try everything as a kid: swimming, running, cycling, football, rugby and cricket. I’m useless at hand-eye coordination, but I really loved triathlon. It was technical and tactical and it caught my imagination.
Triathlon became my sole focus when I was 18 and I won the World Junior Championship in Lausanne. I went to Cambridge to study medicine, but I’d left by 19 to focus on qualification for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

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