They might be masters at the game when it comes to cycling, running and swimming. But Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee cannot play table tennis.
That’s where 16-year-old kid brother Ed reigns supreme – and he is happy to knock the medal hopefuls down a peg or two.
He said: “I don’t see them as great athletes. They are just my brothers who tease, bully and make fun of me – like all older brothers do.
“They walk through the door and everything’s normal. We mess around and we’ll play table tennis in the garden.
“It gets a bit heated at times because they are so competitive. But I’m the best player. They might say otherwise but it’s not true …”
Sibling squabbling ensures the senior Brownlees can switch off from the growing spotlight of the London Games, where the pair are favourites to land the gold and silver medals.
I did some triathlon locally when I was little but I didn’t want to be known as the younger one that hasn’t been as goodEd Brownlee
Stepping through the door of the family home in Bramhope, near Otley, they can guarantee triathlon talk will not be on the agenda.
Ed added: “If I was constantly asking them what’s happening it would drive them mad. They like coming home and like everything to be the same.
“They always come round for Sunday lunch and like that familiarity. I’ll probably see them twice a week.
“I watch the races but I wouldn’t ask about how they went. I’m not really that bothered.
“I’ll talk to Jonny about football a lot and with Ally it’s just random stuff.
“My mates at school will ask about how they are doing but it gets a bit boring. There are much more interesting things to talk about.”
Ed has no intention of following the other two into triathlon. The Bradford Grammar School pupil prefers to play rugby and waterpolo.
“I did some triathlon locally when I was little but I didn’t want to be the same. I’d always be known as the younger one that hasn’t been as good.
“Waterpolo is the closest thing you can get to rugby and it happens throughout the year. Jonny used to do it at lunchtimes and I went along and really enjoyed it.
“Our team’s getting better so we can go round the country to different tournaments.”
The youngest Brownlee is used to travelling to far-flung places as part of the triathlon entourage. But at least the venues these days tend to be far more glamorous.
“Since I was little, I can remember being dragged around to swimming galas and cross-country races to support Ally and Jonny. I used to hate going to races and having to stand there in the rain and
cold for hours and not being able to do anything.
“At least now we can get to go around the world and see nice places. I think I deserve that!”
Beneath all the teenage banter, there is an immense pride in what his brothers have achieved. And Ed is quietly confident that they can sparkle on the biggest stage of all in London.
“My mum and dad always get quite panicky. They’re always worried about one of them falling off the bike or something like that.
“There was the situation when Ally collapsed and I could imagine them pushing each other because they are so competitive.
“But they aren’t stupid. I know nothing bad’s going to happen.
“The worst thing leading up to it is the pressure they’ve got to deal with. I’m sure they will be fine during the race.
“And it won’t change the way we are together. They’ll still try to push me around. But I’m bigger than both of them now. So I can put them in their place!”