New sports facility named after Olympic-winning alumni

A new £5m University sports facility has been named after History graduate Jonny Brownlee and his brother Alistair, who won silver and gold respectively in the triathlon at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The Brownlee Centre, which opens in April, is based at the University’s Bodington playing fields in north Leeds. It is the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training base and will provide the first permanent home for the world-class Leeds Triathlon Centre.

The facility combines a 1.6km cycle circuit – one of the longest in the country – with a strength and conditioning training suite, physiotherapy, medical and other support services. The cycle circuit will be open to cyclists of all abilities from both within and outside of the University. Four of the six Team GB Rio games triathlon competitors will be based there, including the Brownlees’ fellow University of Leeds alumnus Gordon Benson.

The £5m development forms part of the University's investment of £25m in new sports facilities over the past 10 years. It has been funded by the University in partnership with Sport England, UK Sport, British Cycling and British Triathlon.

Jonny said of the new facility: "We can’t wait to bring our bikes up here and try it. The track is a great addition to Yorkshire’s cycling facilities and will benefit cyclists and other sportsmen and women of all abilities. We’re both really pleased to continue our relationship with the University and I hope that what we’ve achieved can inspire everyone who uses the facilities to try their hardest, whether it’s in competitive sport or in building confidence on two wheels."

Alistair also said: "Having the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon centre in Leeds will ensure that the city continues to be a hub for triathlon. It brings together the facilities top athletes need in one place to create a world class training environment. It is a real boost for both participation and elite sport in the area and will hopefully help the next generation of Leeds athletes on their journey to Olympic success."

Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands added his congratulations, saying: "The University is extremely proud of Alistair and Jonny’s achievements and it is fitting that this unique world-class facility, which will inspire thousands of people to be more active, is to be named after two of our most successful sportsmen. Our graduates have dominated top level triathlon and cycling at various events, an achievement which everyone in Leeds can be proud of."

You can find out more about the development here.

You can learn more about the Brownlee Brothers and their achievements here.