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Alistair and Jonny Brownlee

The Brownlee brothers

The Brownlee brothers are among the most successful triathletes of their time. Both are Olympic, national and international medallists, and are graduates of the University of Leeds. The brothers have maintained a strong and active involvement with our University since graduating.

Alistair Brownlee

Alistair Brownlee

BSc Sports Science and Physiology 2009, Honorary LLD 2013

Olympic Games Triathlon gold medal, London 2012 and Rio De Janiero 2016

Jonny Brownlee

Jonny Brownlee

History 2012, Honorary LLD 2013

Olympic Games Triathlon bronze medal, London 2012; silver medal Rio De Janiero 2016

The University supported Alistair and Jonny through its elite sport scholarship programme. Funded by alumni donors and friends of the University, the scholarship enabled the brothers to access specific strength and conditioning coaching, and physiotherapy.

The pair also benefited from an academic liaison officer to support them in balancing their studies with the demands of their training and competitions. 

The Brownlee Centre

Brownlee sign

The Brownlee Centre is the UK's first purpose-built triathlon training base. Opened in 2017, the centre provides a permanent home for the Leeds Triathlon Centre, and received £1million partnership funding from Sport England, UK Sport, British Cycling and British Triathlon with the remaining funding provided by the University. 

The Centre sits alongside a 1 mile cycle circuit – one of the longest in the country – at the University’s Bodington playing fields in north Leeds. Combining a strength and conditioning training suite, physiotherapy, medical and other support services, the development enhances facilities for both cycling and triathlon in the region. The 6 metre-wide cycle circuit provides a traffic-free environment for cyclists of all ages and abilities, including University students, staff and the wider community, for recreation, coaching and competition.

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Honorary degrees


In 2013, following their Olympic successes, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee were awarded honorary degrees by the University. A small number of honorary awards are presented by the University each year to individuals who have excelled in their fields or who have given exceptional service to the institution. Both brothers were given honorary Doctorate of Laws awards, and received them alongside Paralympic swimmer Claire Cashmore (Linguistics and Phonetics 2011), economist Stephanie Flanders and others.

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Leeds Triathlon Centre

Brownlees with VC

The Leeds Triathlon Centre is an elite training programme for top triathletes in the UK. Funded by The University of Leeds, British Triathlon and Leeds Beckett University, the centre supports 14 athletes who aspire to be the best in the world. Alongisde Alistair and Jonny, fellow alumnus Gordon Benson (Nutrition 2016) is also part of the squad.

The University is a key partner in the Leeds Triathlon Centre. Its athletes use the excellent facilities across the city, including The Edge pool and the strength and conditioning room. The Centre has a new home in the recently refurbished pavilion on the University's Bodington Playing Fields, now a permanent base for the elite training squad. 

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