Olympian Alex Yee: From Traumatic Injury to Going for Gold in Paris 2024
The Loughborough-based star will go to the Paris Olympics as the world’s best male triathlete but only after recovering from a bad bike crash that left him with a collapsed lung, broken ribs, and vertebrae.
Yee will never forget that fateful day in Sardinia six years ago, or the subsequent backing of six-time world champion Farah who retired from professional running at this month’s Great North Run.
“I remember Mo messaging me at the time and just saying, ‘all the best mate, I know you can do it,’” said Yee, speaking to TV star and fellow Olympian Sam Quek on the new series of The National Lottery’s podcast series, Amazing Starts Here.
“Mo has always been supportive of my career from a distance, and I was doing rehab with Alistair (Brownlee) at the time, he was telling me, ‘all of the rehab you do now, it’s going to add years onto your career.’
“When people like that said nice words, it convinced me I could come back from the injury.”
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With the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games set to inspire people and communities across the country, Yee hopes that by sharing his story it will give others motivation to get involved in sport.
Yee, who came into triathlon from a track background, was faster than Farah over 5,000m as a junior and ran the second-fastest Parkrun of all time with a clocking of 13 minutes 57 seconds in 2018.
He suffered serious injuries after crashing out of his World Cup debut a year earlier, coming a matter of days before he was due to take his A-level exams.
“It made me realise that the most important thing in life is living,” said Yee. “Triathlon and A-levels consumed my life. It blew my mind that I didn’t go home to do my exams, because that had been everything I’d worked towards for two years and sport had been the biggest thing in my life from 2012 onwards.
“For me, it was the start of realising there is more to life and there are more important things. It gave me perspective on wanting to give triathlon a go.”
Yee is leading the World Triathlon Championship Series standings heading into this weekend’s final leg in Spain, aiming to add the title of world champion to victory at July’s landmark Olympic Test Event in Paris.
The 25-year-old will hope to better the mixed relay gold and individual silver he brought back from Tokyo on Olympic debut.
“I’m excited about Paris, I don’t know what to expect,” he said.
“It feels a bit like a home Games, the number of friends and family who are already talking about going across, it’s not logistically difficult to get to. Everyone can watch the race with the timings, and it’s going to be amazing.
“Everything now is geared to being able to be on the start line in Paris and being able to give the best reflection of myself and feel like I’ve given everything.
“If I do that in the individual and the mixed relay, I’ll be really proud of what I come out with. The goal for the next 18 months is to be selfish and focus on that.”
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