Tokyo 2020 - Alistair Brownlee not picked for shot at triple Olympic gold, Alex Yee takes final triathlon spot
The double Olympic champion looked unlikely to go to Japan after his disqualification at the World Triathlon Series event in Leeds, his final chance to earn his place on the team after making his comeback from an ankle injury. The 23-year-old Yee won the race instead and has earned the final Team GB spot, after a number of impressive performances.
Alistair Brownlee won his second Olympic gold at Rio 2016 but he will not be going to Tokyo 2020
Britain’s Alistair Brownlee will not have a chance to become a triple Olympic triathlon champion in Tokyo after it was confirmed he has missed out on the final Team GB spot, with Alex Yee taking it instead.
The London 2012 and Rio 2016 gold medallist was recently disqualified from the World Triathlon Series event in Leeds, a race which only really exists because of the success of Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, which all-but ended his shot at Japan.
Yee won that event and his general performances have been good enough to convince selectors that he is worthy of the final place on the team alongside Jonny Brownlee, Vicky Holland, Jess Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown, meaning he will compete in both the men’s event and the mixed relay.
Alistair Brownlee appeared to admit defeat after his performance in Leeds. The double Olympic champion has been struggling with an ankle injury and in recent years, focused on longer distance triathlon before making an attempt to make the team.
But writing on social media on June 6, he said “I've known my ankle needs surgery for a little while. My focus will be on getting healthy again and then long distance triathlon in the future."
Alex Yee recently won the World Triathlon Series event in Leeds
Image credit: Getty Images
As for Yee, he is a thoroughly gifted athlete who has gained attention over recent years as a rapid runner who can regularly churn out a sub-14 minute 5k.
"I know it’s a cliché, but I’m over the moon,” he said.
I was massively inspired after watching London 2012 in my home city, and now to be selected to represent Team GB after the delay, covid and the challenges everyone has been through, I am delighted.
"It’s been a whirlwind since Leeds last weekend and it’s all coming round pretty quickly. I’m going to get my head down for the next few weeks and prepare as best I can!"
Alistair and Jonny Brownlee have been trailblaizers for British triathlon
Image credit: Getty Images
On the same day that Mo Farah was given one final chance by British Athletics to earn a spot at the Olympics, it is the end of an era for one half of the Brownlee brother dynasty.
Alistair Brownlee’s success at London 2012 transformed triathlon in the UK from a niche sport into one which is now widely participated in. Mass triathlon events have popped up around the country, and this is truly the legacy of his success.
Along with Jonny, the brothers have put triathlon on the map and ultimately, Alistair’s gold medal triumph has inspired athletes like Yee to try and achieve something similar. He can go down as a British Olympic great.
With Jonny also moving up in distance after Tokyo - where he is aiming to succeed his older sibling as Olympic champion - British triathlon is going through a transitional phase. Alistair’s ankle injury meant he simply ran out of time.
But this is not it for the brothers - both of them have big ambitions at the half-ironman and ironman distance, and they are both determined to bring those disciplines to larger audiences too. Watch this space, it may be that we are just entering phase two of the inspiration masterplan.