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Triathlete Jonny Brownlee targets more Olympic glory as he collects MBE

Diversity star Ashley Banjo was also made an MBE at Windsor Castle

18 October 2022

Jonathan Brownlee has said of his Olympic chances “if I can be genuinely competitive on the start line in Paris, I want to be there”, as he was made an MBE by the Princess Royal at Windsor Castle.

The younger of the two Brownlee brothers, Jonathan is the only triathlete to obtain a bronze, silver and gold at Olympic Games, finally becoming champion in the mixed relay event at Tokyo 2020.

He told the PA news agency: “I never thought I’d be in this situation now with the Olympic bronze, silver and gold medal and again, in three different Olympics.

“The Olympics in London, the home Olympics with the pressure of that, the Rio, the different course, getting the silver and Alistair winning and getting the first and second which obviously you can’t do any better than.

“Then to go to Tokyo and get the gold medal finished it off brilliantly.”

Jonny Brownlee is made MBE at Windsor Castle
Jonny Brownlee is made an MBE by the Princess Royal at Windsor Castle (Yui Mok/PA)

His recent success at the World Series in Sardinia saw Brownlee achieve a podium finish, the first time at the event since 2019.

“The World Series is the kind of top-level racing, apart from the Olympic Games, so all the best guys were there and it shows that I can be competitive again and I really want to go back and be competitive in Paris.”

He added: “I want to continue to Paris and my line for that, my thoughts are pretty simple: If I can be genuinely competitive on the start line in Paris, I want to be there.”

Brownlee described receiving his honour from the Princess Royal as “an unbelievable, special and proud day”, and added: “One thing I don’t think I’ve done very well in my career is look back at the achievements and I’ll definitely take the time to take this one in.”

Ashley Banjo is made MBE at Windsor Castle sor Castle
Ashley Banjo after being made an MBE during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle (Andrew Matthews/PA Wire)

Also being made MBE was street dancer and television personality Ashley Banjo, who spoke to Anne about the work of his dance troupe Diversity, and the new studio they are setting up.

After picking up his honour, he joked: “Hopefully she’ll come down for some dance classes, that’d be nice, wouldn’t it?”

Banjo rose to fame when Diversity’s won Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 ahead of Susan Boyle, and has featured on several prime-time television programmes such as ITV’s Dancing On Ice, and he spoke of hoping to inspire the next generation and “find the new Diversity” with his next venture.

“Before we’ve done what we’ve done, I think it would probably be seen as impossible for a dance group to sell out shows and still be going nearly 15 years on.

“So I think that like whatever it is, it doesn’t matter whether you are a dancer, a musician, a dentist, whatever it is, I just love the idea of saying ‘listen, we can do it – so can you’.”

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