Jonny Brownlee wants brother Alistair by his side in Tokyo despite the double Olympic champion being overlooked for initial selection by Team GB, writes Tom Harle.
Jonny's place at London 2012 and Rio 2016 was confirmed alongside his elder sibling's, but Brownlee junior was the only member of his family among the first four athletes announced.
The most successful athlete in the sport's Olympic history, Alistair's absence was the elephant in the Zoom and his brother hopes it doesn't stay that way next summer.
"I'd love to be on that start line with Alistair," the two-time Olympic medallist told reporters.
"Of course I want him in the team, that goes without saying.
"Alistair being on the team will increase my chances of winning a medal, because we like to race in a similar way.
"We've been very fortunate to race two Olympic Games directly on the start line next to each other.
"I'll believe, like I did in Rio and London, that I could genuinely beat him if he's on the start line.
"If he's fit he's got a good chance of being selected and I'd definitely like to see him there."
Alistair confirmed in January his pivot back to Olympic distance after an injury-free 2019, having switched his focus to Ironman seemingly at the expense of a tilt at a third gold.
The 32-year-old finished ninth at September's World Championships in Hamburg.
"Alistair is still very much in contention," said performance director Mike Cavendish.
"He, alongside our other male athletes, will be competing for the remaining slots that we have – and that could still be one or two.
"A fully-fit and firing Alistair Brownlee will be a force to be reckoned with and absolutely on our radar when we get to completing final selections next year."
There will be a full allocation of three female athletes in Tokyo with Rio bronze medallist Vicky Holland, newly-crowned world champion Georgia Taylor-Brown and world number four Jess Learmonth all confirming their places.
Team GB have fielded three male triathletes at every Games since the sport was introduced at Sydney 2000 but that run is under threat in 2021, threatening Alistair's chances.
They have all but secured two quota places with mixed relay performances, but a third depends on a Brit being ranked in the world top 26 or being best European outside of that.
Alex Yee and Thomas Bishop sit 32nd and 37th in the rankings and will hope to make the individual cut by the time World Triathlon suspend ranking points – a date yet to be announced, with competition en masse set to resume in 2021.
Alistair sits 88th in the Olympic rankings and he is unlikely to be the man who secures the extra spot for the British team himself, posing a problem for selectors.
"We're still pretty confident we'll have three slots for the men," said Cavendish.
"Would it be better if we could guarantee that now? Of course. But we're not the only country competing for the slots.
"We've got a bit of work to do, but we're going to plan for having three next year. It's absolutely not out of the question.
"Who gets those places will be a difficult decision and all of the male athletes will be gunning to perform as well as they can at the start of next year."