Beth Potter inspired by Brownlee brothers as Paris 2024 triathlon gold quest begins

Beth Potter during the Team GB Paris 2024 triathlon team announcement at The Savoy London.Beth Potter during the Team GB Paris 2024 triathlon team announcement at The Savoy London.
Beth Potter during the Team GB Paris 2024 triathlon team announcement at The Savoy London.
Scottish runner one of six triathletes selected to represent Team GB at next summer's Olympic Games

Beth Potter has set her sights on Olympic gold after the sight of Alistair Brownlee helping his brother Jonny over the line in Mexico nine years ago inspired her to become a triathlete.

Current world champion Potter and double Olympic gold medallist Alex Yee are the first of up to six triathletes to be selected by the British Olympic Association for Paris 2024.

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Potter was an established long-distance runner and competed in the 10,000 metres at Rio 2016 until one of triathlon’s defining images convinced her to transition.

Jonny Brownlee was 700 metres away from winning the World Series in a sweltering final event in Cozumel only to begin running erratically because of exhaustion.

Alistair then rounded the corner and stopped to prop his younger brother up before helping him complete the race, sacrificing his own place at the top of the podium in the process.

The scene made a profound impression on Potter, who had already discussed a change of sport with triathlon chiefs at a McDonald’s in Rio.

“It’s not very nice but when Jonny collapsed in Cozumel I felt really inspired by Alistair picking him up and carrying him across the line,” the 31-year-old Scot said.

“I was like, ‘I want to do that sport!’. It was just such a moment of sportsmanship and brotherly love. I was like, ‘I want to race and train with these guys. How can I get there?’.

“There was always interest there having come from a swimming background and I could run.

“I always thought about doing it and many people wanted me to do it earlier than I did. I wanted to see how good I could get on the track and I needed to see that off first.

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“Then I was in Rio watching the Brownlees, drinking out of a coconut in Copacabana.

“I actually met two of the coaches at a McDonald’s in Rio to talk about the opportunity to go up to Leeds and train with the Brownlees. That’s where it started.”

Potter gave up her job as a physics teacher in London to train full-time with the Brownlees but she made a temporary return to the profession during the pandemic.

“I did a bit of online tutoring during lockdown, mainly just to help some kids who needed it,” she said.

“I found that really rewarding. It makes you feel good and some of them got the grades they wanted in their exams. I just didn’t have the time to teach and train in the end.”

Potter’s success in this year’s World Series made her the sport’s highest earnest athlete for 2023 and she will enter the Paris Games as a frontrunner to win gold – an expectation she carries comfortably.

“I’m one of the favourites now and ironically winning that title has taken the pressure off a little bit, strangely,” she said.

“Just because of the fact that I know that I can do that and perform on the day. I feel a bit relaxed about it now. It has given me a stronger sense of confidence.”



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