Even as children, triathlete brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee were already showing the athletic talent – and steely competitiveness – that would lead them to their various world titles and last year’s Olympic glory.
And now, while they sadly can’t share this talent, they are more than happy to share the games and activities they enjoyed as kids, in the hope of keeping our next generation of children active.
‘I think parents have a certain responsibility to get kids active, and people like us do too,’ says Jonathan, 23, who took the London 2012 bronze medal.
‘Parents need to give kids ideas and opportunities, but at the end of the day kids themselves have to choose whether they want to be active.’
The brothers are teaming up with Warburtons Half and Half bread to produce an online scrapbook of activities for kids, aimed at getting them off the sofa and into the great outdoors.
Gold medal winner Alistair, 25, says: ‘We were always very active as kids.
‘Some of my earliest memories are going on walks with my parents.
‘We’re absolutely passionate about getting kids outside and active – that’s why we’ve got involved in this campaign.’
The brothers say that as children they loved being outside and doing competitive activities, whether it was playing football or battling with conkers.
As well as old favourites, like making a treehouse or a den, and having a paper aeroplane competition, other suggestions from the brothers’ activity scrapbook include creating an Olympic-themed assault course and designing an Olympic torch with vegetables.
Jonathan says he and Alistair have both had great fun casting their minds back to playing together as kids, and all the games they made up – even if it does mean he’s forced to remember how Alistair usually beat him.
‘As a kid, it can sometimes be tough being the younger brother,’ he admits. ‘Alistair usually got the better of me.’
Alistair chips in to agree: ‘I loved challenging my brother. As the older brother, I always won... of course!’
Jonathan is very keen to point out though that, nowadays, he gives his big brother a run for his money.
‘Watch out Alistair, Rio 2016 is coming...’ he laughs.
Visit the Brownlee brothers’ Half & Half Scrapbook at facebook.com/warburtons for ideas.
Single mum-of-one Mandy Earle juggles a busy home life with her work as editor of Families Solent East, a free parenting magazine