Looking back at the top 10 athletes from the last decade: #3

As part of firstoffthebike.com’s countdown to its merge with TriathlonWorld.com, they are counting down the top 10 athletes they have seen in the 10 years they have been covering triathlon.

| February 15, 2017 | PERSONALITY

Alistair Brownlee wins Olympic gold at the 2016 Games in Rio.

Alistair Brownlee wins Olympic gold at the 2016 Games in Rio.

Photo >Frank Wechsel / spomedis

There’s not much to be said about the last decade of work by Alistair Brownlee. He has systematically dismantled every major race field he has encountered and done it regularly. In the short-course world there is nothing he has to complete. The first Olympic gold medal was supposedly the easiest to predict as it was in London and he was expected to run home on the crowd’s shoulders. Turned out he didn’t need anyone’s shoulders except his own as he won in front of a wildly happy home crowd. The second gold medal, however, seemed like a destiny as his major nemesis (Gomez) was gone and the rest of the field yielded on a tough Rio course that suited him perfectly. Add to his Olympic haul the four world titles and the multiple world cup wins. He is a once in a generation athlete with a triathlon resume that stacks up with no one but himself.

Our Take

It is hard to keep an objective, journo eye on Alistair Brownlee when he is racing. You know he is going to win, but watching how he architects his day and races on course is mesmerizing. Brownlee has infinite confidence in his ability and this transfers to how he races. He is an intimidating presence and is never shy telling other athletes to get working. He is a true leader when he races, the type of athlete you would absolutely hate to be up against. And his humble and quiet nature off course, too, is one we have come to like. If you believe social media (and who wouldn’t?) he doesn’t do fancy training camps and palatial set ups. He is just a tough, hard as a coffin, nail true, triathlon racing, modern day legend.