Lewisham’s Alex Yee hoping to inspire the next generation of GB Olympians

Alex Yee is grateful to everyone who has helped him to become an Olympic Gold medallist – and hopes he can help inspire the next generation of triathletes.

The South Londoner won silver in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics men’s individual triathlon as well as a gold medal in the mixed triathlon – with Yee, 23, crossing the finish line for his team, writes Kai Bennett.

Lewisham-born Yee headed back to Ladywell Arena, where he first started competitive running, last week to show off his medals.

His father Ron, who competed in duathlons, helped shape his career.

“You want to imitate what your dad has done,” said Yee. “So I went out there and tried to be like him – and it’s amazing for it to have led me to here.

“My dad brought me to a Crystal Palace triathlete session.

“I wouldn’t say my family is particularly sporty. We just all love the outdoors and for them it was cheap childcare – to get you out of the house and it uses up all your energy. Like most people that was the first way we started out, to run off some steam and it progressed from there.

“I’m immensely proud of being an Olympian. To be alongside Jonny Brownlee is amazing. He was one of the people who inspired me to get into the sport and aspire to become an Olympian.

“As much as I wanted to do well at this Olympics and achieve my goals, I just wanted to enjoy the experience. It’s a childhood dream to become an Olympian, let alone an Olympic medallist.

“Triathlon and sport is all about being the perfect athlete and racing to the best of your ability; even though I had amazing results in Tokyo, I still feel as though I have a lot more to achieve, internally in myself with swimming, cycling and running.

“I’m definitely a product of the London Olympic Games [in 2012]. Watching people who inspire you – Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Jonny Brownlee. After the event I actually got given a piece of kit from one of the French athletes Vincent Luis, who’s now a two time champion. For him to show his support and passion in what I was doing was really special.”

Yee was on for gold in the triathlon until Denmark’s Kristian Blummenfelt went past him in the 10km run.

“My mum always says ‘it takes a village to build a person’, and it’s so true,” said Yee. “In the sense when I was 10 years old, starting out here at Crystal Palace, it was about the guys who supported me when I was just having fun.

“Over there [at Ladywell Arena] could be the next future Olympic champion, and that’s amazing.  Keep showing up, enjoying it and make friends. Enjoyment and consistency are such key things. Surround yourself with good people and you never know what could happen.

“We all have to start somewhere – and this is a great place to start.”

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