The 31-year-old bronze and silver medallist at the London and Rio Olympics respectively, spent the last year of the build-up to the delayed Tokyo Games saying that would be his last performance over Olympic distance triathlons.
Then he clocked one of the fastest legs in helping Team GB win a gold medal – his first – in the inaugural mixed team event.
As soon as he saw the timesheets and felt the freshness in his body, the Leeds athlete started the process of reassessing his future, and in October revealed to The Yorkshire Post that he was yet to decide either way, but if he was to carry on, he would have to make the decision soon.
Yesterday’s announcement of the four-strong triathlon team to represent England at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer, was that deadline.
“Yes it definitely does mean that,” said Brownlee, when asked if his selection meant he was continuing in the sport for the next Olympic cycle.
“The main goal for the next three years now is to be in Paris. As long as I can be there and competitive and in contention to win a medal, or two medals, I really want to be there.
“If anyone asked me before I was saying absolutely not.
“I remember saying to my training partner Gordon Benson before the Games out in Tokyo that this might be the last track session I do.
“The big change was the mixed team relay; when I got that timesheet and saw I’d got the fastest leg, it made me realise I can still be competitive at this.
“Since then I’ve had a bit of thinking time, I realise this is what I love doing and what I’m best at. I’ll be 34 at the time of Paris, that’s still a good age as long as my body holds up.”
Brownlee joins Olympic silver medallists Alex Yee and Georgia Taylor-Brown and Sophie Coldwell in Birmingham. Brownlee has a gold and two silver medals from two previous trips to the Commonwealth Games, but not the individual gold he craves.
“I feel like I have unfinished business with the Commonwealths,” he said. “Four years ago on the Gold Coast I was carrying an injury, I got the build-up all wrong so I really want to go and put in a performance.”