Jonny Brownlee is adamant he can do more than “go to Paris just to get the kit” as he looks to win a fourth Olympic triathlon medal at next summer’s Games.
The 33-year-old was expected to call time on his Olympic career after Tokyo two years ago, when he completed his medal set with gold in the mixed relay following bronze and silver at London and Rio respectively.
But Brownlee, who still needs to qualify, has decided to have another crack on the biggest stage of all and is confident he can compete with the best.
He told the PA news agency: “I thought I was going to stop the Olympics stuff after Tokyo.
“I didn’t expect to be in this position. I thought I was going into the long-distance stuff, but I really think I can be competitive.
“My training has gone well in the last few weeks and I only want to go to Paris if I genuinely can be a medal contender. I don’t want to go to Paris just to get the kit.
“To go again I want to be a genuine medal contender and the next 12 months will show that, hopefully that will be the case in the relay and the individual.”
Brownlee has overcome injuries to return to full fitness ahead of the start of his season in Sardinia later this week.
“Missing the Commonwealths was a big shame, especially when it was not in my control,” he said.
“It was hard the way it happened because I crashed the bike in Leeds, got told it was just a broken elbow so I would be fine. But I struggled through training, cycling indoors, trying to swim painfully.
“I told myself I would be fine, as athletes are experts at lying to themselves, and then it wasn’t quite right and a few more tests showed I had broken my scaphoid and it was completely over.
“If anything it told me that I absolutely love racing and I hate it on the sidelines and watching it.
“My body is all good now. I have had a couple of niggles over the winter, but they are healed now and I am ready to go.”
The Yorkshireman was speaking at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds, where the Brownlee Foundation celebrated the 50,000th child taking part in its free mini triathlon events.
Founded by Brownlee and his Olympic gold medallist brother Alistair nine years ago, the foundation inspires children from all backgrounds to enjoy sport and gives them the opportunity to swim, cycle and run at first-class facilities.
“The first one-day event in 2014 was here at John Charles and we had probably over 1,000 children here that day. And now to have over 50 of those events so far is actually incredible.
“It is not about finding the next generation of triathlete, if we do that it is brilliant, but it is about getting kids active, enjoy doing sport and achieve something they didn’t think they could achieve.
“It is absolutely amazing. Children get told that they can’t achieve things but letting them know that they can do it, hopefully they take that forward in their life.”