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The older Brownlee brother will race Javier Gomez on Saturday; track meet next week.
At this time last year, Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee was nursing an Achilles tear in advance of the London Games, giving his brother Jonathan the opportunity to dominate the ITU World Triathlon San Diego course. This year, roles are reversed for the second running of the event, and Alistair will be the one toeing the line against his long-time rival and Olympic silver medalist Javier Gomez.
Brownlee spoke about battling an injury eight months out from London at yesterday’s press conference in San Diego. “A million things were going through my mind, from the moment I got diagnosed with a tear in my Achilles, it doesn’t get much worse, to then actually having it laid out as spending three weeks in a cast,” Brownlee says. “I never gave myself the choice of whether I was going to do it or not…just get on with it and train as hard as I can.”
Thankfully Brownlee came back in brilliant form to take the top podium spot in his home country, a moment he fondly calls “very special.” “I think one of the special things about the Olympics is, obviously triathlon is a fantastic sport, [but] it is only a niche sport in Britain, and the Olympics catapulted triathlon out of that niche category… Meeting The Queen was fantastic. Going to Buckingham Palace was as you expect it to be, lot of chandeliers, lots of paintings, and people in funny suits, I enjoyed it a lot, it was a great experience all round.”
Saturday’s race will put the top Olympic podium finishers head to head once again.
“I’m not in the shape from London but I can’t spend my life trying to be in that shape all the time,” Brownlee says. “I have six to eight weeks of training, but I have a massive few months gap from last year to now, so I am just happy to be here and looking forward to racing to see what I have got. I have spent the last few years racing when fit and on form, so this will be nice to see how I go.”
Brownlee also alluded to some potentially exciting news—next week he may be racing 10,000 meters on the track at the Stanford Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational (official start lists are not yet released). “I’ve been doing triathlon since I was eight years old and along the way done some swimming races and cycling races,” he says. “But the last four years have been very focused on that Olympic medal in London, and rightly so—you only get that chance once to race in your home Olympics and that’s what I wanted to do and achieve. But to carry on the next few years it’s just fantastic to have the opportunity to try different things. I’m looking forward to doing [the 10K] next week.”
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