Endless Pools® Rehab Vaults Brownlee to Olympic Gold

The Brownlee Brothers twice rebounded from injuries to earn historic triathlon victories at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.

Alistair, London 2012

From an Achilles tendon tear in February to Olympic gold in August — that’s the road British triathlete Alistair Brownlee traveled in 2012. And much of that ground was trod on the Endless Pools Underwater Treadmill!

"When I tore my Achilles, I thought 'I’m going to have to do something special to get myself in shape as quickly as I can,'" recalls Brownlee, the world’s premier triathlete. His physiotherapist, Emma Deakin, had him install an Endless Pools Performance model and train on its Underwater Treadmill. The pool allowed him to train in a non-impact environment.

"A massive, massive benefit' is what Olympic triathlete Alistair Brownlee reported getting from his Endless Pools training. He tore his Achilles tendon just six months before the 2012 London Olympics. Aquatic therapy and training helped him recover for a gold-medal victory!

"As soon as I started using the Endless Pool, my Achilles stopped getting stiff," Brownlee discovered. "That was a massive, massive benefit. The pool made a huge difference."

The benefits of his Endless Pools training were so great that Deakin had Brownlee continue his aquatic training up until the London Games – even after he was cleared to run on dry land. When it came time to race – just six months from his grave injury – Brownlee captured the lead after the first lap and never looked back.

Alistair & Jonny, Rio 2016

Four years later, both brothers went from injuries to the top of the Rio’s Olympic podium. Alistair had ankle surgery just nine months prior. His brother, Jonny, who’d taken the bronze in London 2012, was already recovering from a stress fracture in his left femur.

The injuries struck at critical times, putting their Olympic qualification at risk. By this time, they'd stepped up to the Endless Pools Elite model, our top-of-the-line training pool for world-class athletes. The Elite pool permitted rehabilitation and training that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

The brutal course of the Rio triathlon had been called the toughest in Olympic history. The waters off Copacabana beach are notorious for their choppy waves, and the bike course achieved gradients as steep as 20 percent. It was worsened by sweltering heat and humidity.

Hyde Park London hosted both the 2012 Olympic triathlon and a concurrent sports expo. The Brownlee Brothers visited Team Endless Pools, which had a fully functioning pool in Hyde Park open for test swims and swim demonstrations. 

Early out of the water, the Brownlees remained near the front of the pack on the bike. As they took commanding leads in the run, their injuries seemed distant memories. Only in the last two kilometers did Alistair break out to take a solo lead.

Alistair stands as the first triathlete, man or woman, to earn successive gold medals in the sport. He and Jonny are the first brothers to take gold and silver together since Rome 1960.

Thanks to a relentless work ethic and the unique benefits offered by their Endless Pools models, they have twice captured the glory that otherwise may have escaped them.

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