The heir apparent to the Brownlee brothers at the summit of British short-course triathlon, Alex Yee appears set for an exceptional career in the sport.
At the age of just 23, Yee highlighted his spectacular credentials when he became a double Olympic medallist at Tokyo 2020 – cementing his status as one of triathlon’s rising stars.
Born in Lewisham in London, Alex was a talented runner in his youth and was recording quicker times than Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah at the same age. In 2016 he was named SportAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award winner by Farah following his gold in the ITU World Duathlon Junior Championships and bronze at the Quarteira ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup. Yee, who ran in the 10,000m at the 2018 European Championships, decided to concentrate on his triathlon career – having been encouraged by his dad Ron.
Alex studied for his ‘A’ Levels at Kingsdale Foundation School in West Dulwich, before going on to study Sport and Exercise Science at Leeds Beckett University. He is a member of Crystal Palace Triathletes and Kent AC.
In 2017, Yee was involved in a horrific bike crash at the 2017 ITU World Cup in Cagliari, Italy. As a result, he suffered broken ribs, vertebrae and a punctured lung, spending four weeks in hospital. He has spoken since about how he used this experience as an opportunity to reflect, regather his thoughts and inspire him to come back stronger than ever.
Yee’s achievements were recognised in the New Year Honours List on December 31, 2021 – when he was awarded an MBE.
Career record and results
Yee’s breakthrough performance came at the 2021 AJ Bell World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds, where he secured a hugely popular and impressive victory at Roundhay Park. Alex also collected the Maurice Lacroix World Triathlon Championship Series Ranking Leaders trophy. His strong running ability shone during the race when he produced a magnificent 10km, going solo for the final three laps as he beat the likes of Kristian Blummenfelt, Hayden Wilde and Jonny Brownlee with an overall time of 1:43:27.
Afterwards Yee said that win was the most relaxed he had ever been during a race – drowning out all the external and internal pressures – as he confirmed his contender status in triathlon as well as making his Olympic selection a fait accompli.
Alex had won his first ITU Triathlon World Cup at Cape Town in 2019 and followed this up with an impressive second place during his WTS debut in Abu Dhabi. It was a fantastic introduction for the young Englishman, finishing only seconds behind Mario Mola. However, despite these back-to-back results, Yee did not believe he was worthy of racing the likes of three-time ITU World Champion Mola until a fifth-place finish at 2019 ITU Yokohama. He finished the race in the Japanese city with a time of 1:43:57, just 36 seconds behind winner Vincent Luis. He finished his 2019 season with an overall ITU WTS ranking of 12th.
In 2021, Yee won both Olympic medals as well as the Super League Triathlon Championship Series, whilst also finishing third overall in the WTCS rankings, with his best result coming with his win in Leeds.
In 2022, Yee was seen as one of the favourites for the world title heading into the Grand Final in Abu Dhabi, following wins at Yokohama, Montreal and Cagliari, but faded to fourth in the final race to finish just twenty points shy of Leo Bergere and miss out on what would have been his first World Series title.
However, Yee can take some consolation from the fact that he finished 2022 as a double Commonwealth Games champion, after winning the individual and mixed team relay events in Birmingham in August.
Alex has also enjoyed plenty of success in mixed relay events as well. He has been part of teams to finish on podiums at the 2019 Accenture World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series Nottingham, 2020 Hamburg ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships and then most famously at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In 2022, Yee won the Commonwealth mixed relay gold alongside Sophie Coldwell, Samuel Dickinson and Georgia Taylor-Brown.
Yee finished his first ever Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021 with two medals in two events – silver in the Individual and gold in the Mixed Relay.
In the Individual, the young Brit was only bettered by Norway’s Blummenfelt – who finished with a time of 1:45:04 compared to Yee’s 1:45:15. Alex, who recorded a swim of 18:09 and then 56:17 on the bike, had led on the run leg and with 1km to go he was still part of the front pack alongside Blummenfelt and subsequent bronze medallist Hayden Wilde. Then Norwegian Blummenfelt made the decisive break and although Yee tried to keep pace with the 27-year-old from Bergen he was eventually forced to settle for a highly creditable second place.
Yee would taste gold a few short days later however when he crossed the line first in the Mixed Relay for Team GB. Racing in leg four of the event, Yee held off Morgan Pearson of Team USA and a fired-up Vincent Luis of France. Luis, who was 33 seconds behind Yee when he went into the water, caught up the Briton on the bike but was unable to maintain his advantage. It was on the run when Yee stretched away to build a decisive advantage – eventually winning by 14 seconds from Pearson with Luis a further nine seconds behind the American. A truly memorable moment for Yee and Great Britain.
Super League Triathlon
Racing for Team Eagles, Alex won the 2021 Super League Triathlon Championship Series title with 59 points from four races – finishing five points clear of Wilde in second with Jonny Brownlee on 50 points in third.
Yee started the series with a fifth place in London, but improved to take third at Munich a week later. Yee then secured the title after epic wins at Jersey and Malibu following two breathtaking sprint finishes. They were both memorable Super League races as Yee battled it out with Jonny Brownlee in Jersey before finishing 0.2 seconds clear of Belgium’s Marten Van Riel in California.
Alex believes the Malibu win was one of his best races of 2021 as he picked up another title in his career, pocketing $120,000 in overall prize money in the process.
Alex Yee and family
Alex credits his father Ron Yee as one of the key reasons for his introduction to the sport. Ron, an architect and university lecturer, himself competed in some duathlon races and Alex used to go with him to races when he was six or seven years old.
A few years later, when Crystal Palace Triathletes held their first ever junior session, Ron took young Alex along and as the saying goes, the rest is history.
Far from any ‘pushy parents’ stereotypes, level-headed Alex credits his family for helping make him the young man he is today.
“I think that comes from my parents’ support – there was never any difference being picked up from a really good race or a bad one, they loved me just as much. That’s a great thing, I could step away from the sport and be loved just as much, and that’s a massive perspective to remember as a junior athlete.”
Alex Yee gear
Yee has partnerships with New Balance, Trek Bikes, Hutchinson Cycling, HUUB Design and Oakley.