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An Olympic Games triathlon without the Brownlee brothers at Paris 2024 – and here is why

British legends the Brownlee brothers will not be involved in the Olympic Games triathlon for the first time since 2004 - and this is why.

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It seems unthinkable but it is finally happening – for the first time since 2004 an Olympic Games triathlon will not feature either of the Brownlee brothers at Paris 2024.

You have to go back some 20 years to find the last Games (Athens 2004) where one of these Yorkshire superstars – Alistair or Jonny – was not in action for Great Britain. Since then it’s been an epic and enduring love story with medal after medal to top off the fairytale for these two great ambassadors for the sport.

Between them, Alistair and Jonny have graced four separate Olympic Games:

  • Olympic Games, Tokyo 2020 (2021) – Jonny
  • Olympic Games, Rio 2016 – Alistair / Jonny
  • Olympic Games, London 2012 – Alistair / Jonny
  • Olympic Games, Beijing 2008 – Alistair

It’s been a glorious run, with medals of all varieties in large quantities, as both Brownlees produced incredible performances to put British triathlon firmly on the map.

Sadly the run is over, and here is why neither of them will be taking part in the French capital in late July and early August:

Brownlee Brothers Alistair Jonny London Olympic Games 2012 Triathlon
Gold and Bronze at London 2012 (Pic – World Triathlon).
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Why is Alistair Brownlee not racing?

Quite simply the 36-year-old two-time Olympic champion has moved on from short-course triathlon (check out all the various triathlon distances in our guide).

He made the difficult decision after enduring what he himself described as “three months from hell” trying to qualify for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. He lost that battle to an ankle injury though and was eventually forced to undergo surgery.

Alistair is now concentrating on long-course triathlon – which means the new T100 distance from the PTO (100km as the name suggests), and also the iconic Ironman distance – which sees athletes cover a total of 140.6miles.

Since ending his glittering short-course career, it’s been a frustrating three years for Alistair as he has battled a string of injuries – including a pair of ankle surgeries.

In 2024 he is very much focused on that T100 World Tour, and is hoping to be fighting at the front of the field at the next race in London – that takes place on Sunday July 28 at 2pm local time (1500 CET, 1000 Eastern Time).

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Why is Jonny Brownlee not racing?

So Jonny has not retired from short-course racing, and he was all in on qualifying for the Paris Games as part of an exceptionally strong Team GB lineup. But sadly, it did not play out like that.

On the back of his Tokyo heroics (fifth in the individual event and gold in the team Mixed Relay), Jonny decided to give the Olympics one more shot with Paris just three years away.

Injury wrecked his 2022 season when a broken elbow sustained in a bike crash at his home WTCS Leeds race saw him forced to miss the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Jonny returned in 2023 with hopes of nailing down a place on the plane to Paris, but a loss of form in the last 12 months left the door open for new challengers.

As the selectors faced an agonising decision over who would join gold medal favourite Alex Yee on the team, Jonny faced off with Sam Dickinson at Europe Triathlon Cup Kielce in Poland. It was seen as an unofficial showdown for that crucial Team GB spot.

Jonny lost out to the 26-year-old Dickinson by just three seconds as his rival came home to win with Brownlee in third. And while we cannot be sure if that was the defining moment his fate was sealed, a few short weeks later the confirmation came that Dickinson had got the nod and would be competing in France.

Alistair Brownlee Olympic Games medals

Alistair is the only two-time Olympic Triathlon Champion to date after those memorable successes in London and Rio in 2012 and 2016. Tokyo champions, Flora Duffy and Kristian Blummenfelt, will be seeking to match that impressive statistic in Paris.

Alistair Brownlee, Jonny Brownle, Rio 2016 Olympic Games podium celebration
The Brownlee brothers have an incredible Olympic legacy

Jonny Brownlee Olympic Games medals

No wonder Jonny would famously say after Tokyo 2021: “Olympics, completed it mate”.

The Mixed Relay gold he claimed along with Jess Learmonth, Georgia Taylor-Brown and the aforementioned Yee completed the full set of Olympic medals for the Yorkshireman. He had claimed silver behind Alistair in the individual event in Rio in 2016, and bronze at London 2012.

Olympic Games Mixed Relay Triathlon Tokyo 2020
Great Britain claimed Mixed Relay gold at Tokyo 2020.
Graham Shaw
Written by
Graham Shaw
Graham has been involved with TRI247 & RUN247 since the summer of 2021. Since then he has provided strategic direction for all news and is passionate about the growth of triathlon as a fan sport.
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