The Sibling Advantage

  • By Ragan Sutterfield
  • Published Jun 18, 2013
  • Updated Jul 15, 2015 at 4:04 PM UTC
Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee on the podium at the 2012 London Olympics. Photo: Delly Carr/

Three pairs of triathlete siblings teach us all how to have a better training partner.

We all watched the Brownlees last summer, hammering away in London. Race commentators kept talking about their collective strength—how they dictate the pace early on and never relent. It’s an intensity trained through sibling rivalry, a kind of training where you can race hard against each other and then be brothers at the end of the day. The work paid off, Alistair taking gold and Jonathan bronze.

Watching the Brownlees it seems clear that it pays to have a triathlete sibling, and it doesn’t take much looking around to see that there are more than a few. You have Chris and Matt Lieto, the Raelert brothers, the Wassner twins. Some of these sets of siblings don’t train and race together, but for the ones who do there seems to be a real advantage in the level of intensity and support they’re able to achieve. So what is it that makes these triathlon siblings so strong? Is it just the great family gene pool? Is it always having a training partner who’s well matched? We talked with three pairs of siblings to see what lessons we could glean.

PHOTOS: The Brownlees’ Olympic Experience

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FILED UNDER: Features / Training TAGS: / / /

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