Jonny Brownlee has been left out of Great Britain’s triathlon team for the Paris Olympics, marking the end of an era.

Jonny and older brother Alistair have dominated the sport in Britain over the last decade and a half, winning five Olympic medals between them.

Alistair made his Games debut in 2008 before winning gold on home soil in London four years later and successfully defending the title in Rio, while Jonny claimed bronze in 2012, silver in Rio and a gold as part of Britain’s relay team in Tokyo three years ago.

After performing so strongly in that race, he reversed his decision to retire from the Olympic format and decided to push for one more appearance in Paris.

However, his results have been disappointing and he has missed out on the second men’s place to 26-year-old debutant Sam Dickinson, who joins Tokyo silver medallist Alex Yee.

A three-strong women’s team is led by reigning world champion Beth Potter. Georgia Taylor-Brown, who won silver three years ago, has recovered from injury to take her place, with Kate Waugh securing the third spot after an appeal.

On the decision not to pick Jonny Brownlee, performance director Mike Cavendish told the PA news agency: “It’s one of those things where Jonny has given so much to this sport and he’s still an absolutely outstanding athlete.

Alex Yee at Team GB Kitting Out
Alex Yee will be among the gold medal favourites (Jacob King/PA)

“There’s no doubt that, had we decided to pick Jonny, he would have still done a brilliant job. We’re just faced with having to make some really difficult decisions and we’ve got an athlete in Sam who just edged it this time.

“He (Brownlee) was disappointed. You’d not expect anything different from an athlete of his calibre.

“He’s programmed to go and be successful. He’s done that ever since he was a young kid racing in junior all the way through to winning a gold medal in Tokyo. But he understands we’ve got very difficult decisions to make.”

Britain are particularly strong in the women’s event, with Potter among the gold medal favourites and Taylor-Brown and Waugh also potential medal hopefuls, while Sophie Coldwell will be disappointed to have missed out.

Cavendish said of the appeal: “It’s pretty standard practice. It’s not pleasant for anybody, these things never are, but, when places are so close and when you’re getting to a point where it’s 51-49 and it’s very difficult to make a decision, athletes are fully entitled to appeal and to put their case forward.

“We’ve got four athletes who are top 10 in the world pretty much every single time they step onto the start line. To have to leave one at home is pretty painful.”

Beth Potter crosses the finish line in Sunderland
Beth Potter is the reigning world champion (Will Matthews/PA)

Concerns remain about the safety of the Seine for swimming, meaning the triathlon events could potentially be delayed or the swimming omitted entirely.

But, whatever the format, Cavendish is confident Britain can add to their recent success in the sport having won eight medals at the last three Olympics.

“We will turn up and we will be prepared for whatever eventualities come along,” he said.

“We’re in good shape. I think we’ll head into Paris with a strong team that should put us in a good place to win medals across the board.”