Catching up with the Brownlees
We had the chance to catch up with brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee after their triumph in London, where Alistair won gold and Jonathan bronze in triathlon.
Alistair, you are the 2012 London Olympic Champion. How does this title sound? When did you start thinking it was possible to become champion? Was it a kid’s dream?
Alistair: I think I realized that it was a definite possibility after Beijing 2008. I was only 20 years old and although I only came 12th I didn’t feel that winning was very far away. Because an Olympic gold medal is universal across so many sports, it has always been a strong ambition of mine to win it.
You are the first British brothers to stand on an Olympic podium. How does it feel?
Jonathan: I think immediately after the race, it is impossible to take everything in. We had a whirlwind of a few weeks afterwards and nothing has properly sunk in. We both feel proud of each other for performing so well, and I think as time goes on we will appreciate our achievements much more.
Everybody was expecting you on the podium. You’ve been the two best triathletes in the world for the last few years and the event was in your home country. The pressure must have been insane, how did you manage to deal with it?
Jonathan: We managed to hide away from a lot of the hype and “pressure” leading up to the games. We had a great team working with us and it really just felt like business as usual for a lot of the time. It’s a lot easier when you have someone to share the pressure with though as well.
Alistair: We take every race we do very seriously and never want to lose, so we just tried to approach the Olympics with the same philosophy.
Triathlon is an individual sport, but looking at you guys it seems like a team sport. Does the fact that you train and race together give you an advantage compared to the others?
Jonathan: It definitely gives us a huge advantage. Cycling teams ride for hours on end together every day, so they can work really well together. We have that same advantage in racing, we can work brilliantly together in the bike pack to try and keep each other towards the front and keep the pace high.
Alistair: It is definitely every man for himself when we get to the run though!
On the bike you were in the front most of the time and attacking. How did you feel on the bike?
Alistair: I felt really good. To start off with we weren’t actually riding that hard, we just had a really good group that were working very well together. Then when Stu caught he did loads of work to keep the pace high.
On the bike course there were a lot of cornering and acceleration, how important was the SRAM and Zipp material you were riding? (The brothers rode Zipp 404 Firecrest wheels and Service Course SL bars and stems as well as SRAM RED – 2012.)
Jonathan: It’s very important to have the lightest and most efficient kit going on your bike. It’s great to have the confidence that your bike isn’t going to fail and you already have an advantage over others in the bike pack.
Alistair: Zipp’s are the best wheels I’ve ever ridden. Very smooth for the straights, but so light and responsive when you are out of the saddle, accelerating away from the corners.
Is your bike equipment is crucial in helping to set you up and keep you fresh for the run?
Alistair: You want every advantage you can gain on the bike. Every watt of energy you save on the course is one you can use in the run. So it is absolutely crucial.
What’s the near future look like for both of you in terms of your next races and some time off?
Alistair: I am now out of contention for the World Series because of the racing I missed through injury earlier in the season. So I’m going to try a few different races for the remainder of the season, where I’ll get to try out a disc wheel hopefully!
Jonathan: I’m going to try and defend Alistair’s world championship title and keep it in the family. So I’ll be racing the grand final in Auckland. So really it’s just back to business as usual for me.