Double Olympic triathlon medallist Alex Yee knows he has a tough act to follow in building on from the legacy of Alistair and Jonny Brownlee.
Yee added gold when he anchored Team GB home in the mixed event to silver from what was his Olympic debut in Tokyo, finishing runner-up to Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt at Odaiba Marine Park.
Jonny Brownlee feels the 23-year-old can go on to better the achievements of both himself and two-time gold medal-winning brother Alistair, labelling Yee with the potential to become “the most successful triathlete ever”.
Yee is currently the fastest runner in the sport’s history, securing a spot on the British team for Tokyo by winning his first World Triathlon Series race in Leeds in June when pulling clear of the field over the final stage.
The Brockley athlete, though, will remain focused on continuing his progress in the sport rather than getting carried away with the weight of expectation.
“On the scale which they (Brownlees) grew the sport, I think is incredible and their achievements are amazing, I definitely feel honoured to be mentioned in the same sentence as them,” Yee told the PA news agency.
“But at the same time, I guess for me, I really want to kind of pave my own way in the sport and create my legacy.
“I’ve been really fortunate that I’ve never quite had that expectation on my shoulders and people have put so much faith in me.
“To have the nation behind you now, it’s a huge honour. I feel exhilarated by it.
“I want to raise (myself) to the best of my ability, to get the most out of myself and I feel immense pride from that.”
Yee has certainly come a long way in a short time.
At one stage his Olympic dreams looked to be on hold following serious injuries in a crash during a race in 2017 which left him with broken ribs, vertebrae and a shoulder blade as well as a punctured lung.
Having now delivered on the biggest stage, Yee admits his achievements are still sinking in.
“In 2019, I had a bit of a breakthrough year and burst on to the World Series, for me I had a mild imposter syndrome I guess,” Yee said.
“I was standing on the sideline, not quite feeling like I was ready to be there or worthy of being there. I had a real struggle over that year to kind of get that right.
“I felt like at the start of this year, I feel worthy, I feel after some tough conversations, like I deserve to be here.
“I think that’s an important thing to remember for elite athletes is – there is a reason you are on that start line, your excellence has shown that you are worthy of that.
“It’s definitely been a tough time for a lot of people and for a lot of different reasons.
“It’s certainly hard to comprehend how much media and attention there is on some of these big superstars.
“I can’t really imagine how they must feel. They should be extremely proud of themselves for being able to stand up for themselves and that then talking out will be a catalyst for change.”
Now back home in Kent, Yee will allow himself a little bit of downtime and enjoying his success with all of those who have supported him.
It will, though, not be too long before Yee sharpens his focus towards the World Triathlon Championship finals in Edmonton later this month.
“Those guys are the ones who are around me day in, day out and motivate me. I am so, so lucky to have them,” Yee said.
“One of my most proud moments was just coming home, giving them all a hug and saying ‘thank you’.
“But with regards to competition I still have the grand final which will be in two-and-a half weeks, so that will be another great showdown to kind of cap off the year.”
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