Two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee revealed over the weekend that he plans to jump up to long-distance triathlon for at least the next two years, with the goal of competing in Kona on his radar.
“I’m going to pursue things away from Olympic triathlon; it’s important I have a different focus,” Brownlee told BBC.com. “I’ve been to three Olympics and I can’t say I won’t definitely be at a fourth.”
“All triathletes have the ambition to do the almost mystical Ironman World Championships in Hawaii,” he continued.
Though the big news is obviously that Brownlee has revealed his intentions to make the Kona start at some point in his career, it sounds like the British star is staying realistic on the timing of making such a big leap.
Last week Brownlee told 220triathlon.com that he would look to qualify for next year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga, Tenn., set for Sept. 10, 2017.
“I want to win the half-Ironman world champs at some point and that’s the obvious next step to try next year,” he said.
Beyond that 70.3 worlds goal Brownlee isn’t providing an exact timeline for Ironman, only saying that he’ll spend the next two years focusing on longer distances before deciding whether or not to try for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I know that to be there in Tokyo I have to commit from two years out,” he told 220triathlon.com. “So this time in two years, my focus will be definitely Tokyo… or definitely Hawaii.”
There will be big expectations for Brownlee when he steps up the distance; Jan Frodeno won the Olympic gold medal in 2008, then finished third in his 2014 Kona debut, took the Kona crown the last two years running, and set the world record for iron-distance racing at Challenge Roth in July with a 7:35:39. Five-time ITU world champion (and 2014 70.3 world champion) Javier Gomez of Spain has also alluded to plans to jump up to Ironman—meaning we’ll likely see some interesting new talent and dynamics in long-course triathlon racing.