The 31-year-old triathlete helped Team GB to gold in the inaugural mixed relay alongside Jessica Learmonth, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee in what he had vowed would be his final crack at Olympic glory.
But having completed his medal set after winning bronze in London and silver in Rio, Brownlee admitted he is now sorely tempted to carry on to Paris in 2024.
“Has winning this changed my mind slightly? Definitely. I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t,” he told the PA news agency.
“I went into this one saying it was definitely my last Olympic Games. That’s because I wanted to give everything I possibly could, in my training and in the race. I thought when I got to the finish line that was going to be it.
“Even during the relay I went into the run thinking ‘you’ve got 2km, five and a half minutes of your Olympic career left, give it everything’.
“But I crossed the finish line, looked at my splits in a short, fast race that shouldn’t really suit me, and I thought ‘wow!’. I got the fastest split of the day.
“And then you start thinking ‘what if?’. It’s only three years. The Commonwealth Games are next year. So I’ve gone from definitely to probably.”
Brownlee’s post-Tokyo plan was to move up in distance to half-Ironman and Ironman competitions.
But he added: “If I want to be a medal contender in Paris I would have to commit fully.
“I could do a bit of long-distance, and after that you have to commit fully. It’s a two-year process to qualify and ideally you’d qualify the year before, so that would be 2023, but maybe next year I can do a bit of different racing.
“If I want to do the Commonwealths the selection starts in Abu Dhabi in November. So if I want to do that I have to crack on very soon.”
If Brownlee does turn his back on triathlon he leaves the sport in safe British hands in the shape of Learmonth, Taylor-Brown and Yee, who he believes will go on to better the achievements of both himself and two-time gold medal-winning brother Alistair.
“Alex is an incredible athlete. I’ve seen him come through the age groups and he deserves all his success,” said Brownlee. “Triathlon is in very strong hands.
“He can go on to win multiple Olympic medals and a lot of world championships. He could go on to be the most successful triathlete ever.”
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