Sam Dickinson, inspired by the Brownlee brothers, now follows in their Olympic footsteps

Sam Dickinson reflects on his Olympic Games triathlon selection for Team GB, and how the Brownlee brothers inspired him to take up the sport.

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Sam Dickinson, for years inspired by the brilliant Brownlee brothers, will now follow in their Olympic Games triathlon footsteps at Paris 2024.

The 26-year-old from York got the nod ahead of swim/bike/run legend Jonny Brownlee on Wednesday to claim the second spot for Great Britain alongside gold medal favourite Alex Yee in the French capital.

The announcement finally ended an agonising wait for the athletes – and means that for the first time since 2004 an Olympics will take place without a Brownlee competing in triathlon for Team GB.

It was just reward for Dickinson, who had travelled around the world in 2023 in search of crucial ranking points to boost his chances of a spot in France.

In the end, the decision appears to have come down to that breathtaking super-sprint finish in Poland last month, where he pipped Jonny by just three seconds in winning Europe Triathlon Cup Kielse.


Sam Dickinson on the Brownlees

Speaking to the Team GB website, he paid tribute to the men who inspired him, revealing: “They’ve been true inspirations really. I remember watching London 2012 back in the day and that is what got me into triathlon. They are a big reason why I chose to go to university in Leeds and train in that environment.

“You can see how they have been the best in the business, they are true professionals. Everything is swim bike run and they certainly train very hard, so it has been very useful for me.

“They’ve been fantastic for the sport, growing the sport, especially in Yorkshire, and I am looking forward to carrying on the mantle now.”

That gruelling slog to the qualification finish line was a necessity for Dickinson, who admitted: “That was hard and I wouldn’t advise that for anyone but with the position I was in, I had to go out and put some scores on the board.

“It is great in one sense to get some good experience and to race all over the place, you learn a lot about your body and what you can and can’t do.

“You then regroup for the winter, take all of that experience into this year and that all helps you prepare to get it right when it matters.

“It’s not over until it’s over, I knew that it was a strong case to be selected, but I certainly wasn’t counting my chickens.”

Team GB triathlon paris olympics 2024 yee taylor brown potter dickinson
Sam Dickinson with team-mates Georgia Taylor-Brown, Alex Yee and Beth Potter [Photo credit: Team GB]

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Sam the selfless an invaluable weapon

Dickinson won widespread praise for his selfless approach at the 2022 Commonwealth Games when he helped Yee claim individual gold, and a few days later the pair were on the Mixed Relay team which claimed gold.

Sam will be a part of the team looking to successfully defend the Olympic Mixed Relay gold Team GB claimed in Tokyo three years ago, and having been a reserve in Japan he is fully prepared for the biggest test of all.

He said: “I’ve been around a few teams with them all, at Commonwealth Games and we’ve raced in plenty of World Series relays together, so to be able to do it on the big stage is exciting.

“I have also been to Tokyo as the reserve, so I was there on the ground and went through all the processes apart from the actual race.

“Tokyo has prepared me very well, if you can deal with a Covid Olympics, Paris will throw its own challenges, but you’ve got to roll with the punches.

“We’ve been through it all together before and that Commonwealth Games experience, that major Games, really helped too so I am just looking forward to getting to work with those top-class athletes.

“I need to be the best I can be, on that day, when it matters, that’s all my expectations are, I’ve got nothing tangible at the moment but that is not how I work.

“I work more in processes, and I know what I need to do to get it right and the team around me and the athletes around me believe in me, which is always really nice, so I am just looking forward to go out and delivering my best performance when it matters.”


Dealing with the process

While Dickinson always knew the Olympics was the big goal, he attempted to minimise the enormity of it by approaching the qualification task in a different way.

“The Olympics is always in the back of your mind. But what I really focused on is what I can do today to get better for tomorrow.

“And following that process and not getting overwhelmed with it means I can sit here having been selected and this is my today and I am looking forward to my tomorrow.”

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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