Graham Shaw1 Aug 2021

Now, at last, Jonny Brownlee can reflect on Olympic legacy

With his Olympic journey complete, and the future in safe hands, Jonny Brownlee can start to reflect on the epic legacy he leaves.
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Not only has Jonny Brownlee completed the set of Olympic triathlon medals, he has also completed his journey – and now his thoughts can turn at last to legacy.

Brownlee finally added gold to his collection in Tokyo early on Saturday when he was part of a stellar Great Britain team which claimed victory in the first ever mixed relay triathlon at the Games.

The Yorkshireman, now 31, knew Japan would represent his last chance to add to the bronze and silver he had won behind brother Alistair in London and Rio respectively. He performed impressively to take fifth in the individual event, and then crowned everything with that brilliant gold on Saturday.

Afterwards, in an interview with TeamGB, he talked about what it all means, and specifically the legacy he will leave behind for short-course triathlon in Britain. The next generation is clearly here with both Alex Yee and Georgia-Taylor Brown taking silvers in the individual events in Tokyo, and the future is in safe hands.

Jonny said: “I feel like I’ve completed my kind of journey in the Olympics now and I’m ready for a new challenge.

“The Olympics is something you want to turn up in the best possible shape, and you want to give everything to because it’s such an amazing sporting event, so I’m really proud that I’ve done that.

Inspiring the next generation

“But what was actually quite nice today is Alex Yee, the incredible double Olympic medalist now, gave an interview and said that one of the main things that inspired him was watching us in London 2012.

“Firstly it made me feel quite old, but the fact that a young athlete of that incredible talent had seen us race on the home soil, seen us win Olympic medals, we were the first Brits to do it, and now is here winning his two Olympic medals, that means a lot to me.”

Reflecting on legacy

The focus required to excel in elite sporting competition means there is little time to think about anything else – but now Jonny admits he can start to look back and reflect.

“At some point I will definitely sit back and firstly think about what Alistair and myself have achieved. And then also think about our legacy.

“As you go through your sporting career, you get buildings named after you, even had pubs named after us. You don’t have time to take that all in, definitely at some point I will.”