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Alistair Brownlee, double Olympic triathlon champ, wins Ironman debut, eyes Kona

IRONMAN Ireland

CORK, IRELAND - JUNE 23: Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain crosses the line to win during the IRONMAN Ireland on June 23, 2019 in Cork, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Getty Images for IRONMAN

Alistair Brownlee, the only triathlete with multiple Olympic titles, added an Ironman victory in his debut at the distance in Cork, Ireland, on Sunday, though the 2.4-mile swim was canceled.

The Brit earned a spot at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, on Oct. 12 and intends to race there.

“That’s one of the reasons I came today,” Brownlee said. “I’ve hopefully got a few years in me. I’ll be going to Kona this year for very much a bit of a learning experience and see how it goes.”

Brownlee, who has said he is undecided on a Tokyo 2020 run, made up a 16-minute, 56-second deficit after the 112-mile bike to win in 7:49:20. The field lacked the world’s best Ironman triathletes, like Germans Patrick Lange and Jan Frodeno (2008 Olympic champion). The 2.4-mile swim was canceled due to poor weather.

Olympic-distance triathlons are a .93-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike and a 6.25-mile run.

Many triathletes have signaled the end of Olympic careers when moving up to the Ironman, such as Frodeno and two-time U.S. Olympian Sarah True. But Brownlee did not seem ready to join them.

“I’d love to be [in Tokyo], but I only want to be there if I feel I can be competitive,” he said after winning the European Championship for a fourth time on June 2, according to the Press Association.

Brownlee, 31, reportedly said in August that he was “50-50" on going for Tokyo and had to decide between focusing on Olympic or Ironman distances.

He won four half Ironmans between 2017 and 2018 (sandwiched by a hip surgery), then finished second to Frodeno at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship on Sept. 2.

MORE: Katie Zaferes leads U.S. sweep of World Triathlon Series podium

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