One of the hottest prospects for a British gold medal in London, Brownlee has swept all before him in triathlon during recent years.
Born in Dewsbury and educated at Bradford Grammar School, he was an outstanding schoolboy cross-country and fell runner.
He abandoned a degree in medicine after one term at Girton College, Cambridge in order to follow his triathlon dream, the sport having been introduced into the Olympic programme in 2000.
Brownlee, whose younger brother Jonathan is also a world-class triathlete, returned to West Yorkshire to train under the guidance of Malcolm Brown and Jack Maitland at the Leeds Met high performance centre.
The decision paid off as he won the world junior title in 2006 and followed up with the European junior and world under 23 crowns over the next two years.
That progress continued in 2009 when, as a 21-year-old, Brownlee dominated the ITU World Series to claim his maiden world title.
A stress fracture in his leg ruined the early part of his 2010 season but he has since bounced back to form, defending his European title and on course to regain his world title in 2011 after victories in Madrid and Kitzbühel.