Just when you think you're tough enough


Olympic champ Alistair Brownlee sacrifices win to help brother Jonny at ITU World Triathlon Series

Alistair Brownlee right) helps younger brother Jonny cross the finish line at ITU World Series in Mexico. Image from video)
Alistair Brownlee (right) helps younger brother Jonny cross the finish line at ITU World Series in Mexico. (Image from video)

Usually rivalry prevails among siblings, but when it mattered most at the ITU World Triathlon Series in Mexico, Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee sacrificed his win to help brother Jonny cross the finish line.

Jonny Brownlee was gunning for maximum points in winning the hot and humid race in Cozumel, Mexico to win the World Triathlon Series title. The fast and furious pace contributed to dehydration and the exhausted Briton was close to collapsing near the finish line of the 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run.

Leading with 700m left, Jonny, 26, began to weave over the road and ran into the arms of a bystander. Coming right around the corner just in the nick of time, third-placed Alistair, 28, caught his brother and towed him along for the final two hundred metres before pushing him over the line in second place.

Jonny Brownlee slumped across the finish line. (BBC Sport)
Jonny Brownlee slumped across the finish line. (BBC Sport)

Unfortunately, they were overtaken by South African Henri Schoeman, who finished the race in 1 hour 46 minutes 50 seconds, with both Brownlees 18 seconds behind. Jonny was left just four points behind Spaniard Mario Mola, who finished fifth to top the overall standings.

Jonny, Olympic silver medallist at Rio 2016 and a bronze medallist at London 2012, collapsed to the ground the moment he crossed the finish line. He required treatment but later tweeted he was OK, with a photo of himself lying in a hospital bed on a drip.

Elder brother Alistair commented into the most ‘brotherly fashion’ afterwards.

“First I was just thinking, ‘what an idiot’. He could have won this race so easily and he’s been tactically so ridiculous. It serves him right really.”

“I didn’t really think too much about what I did. I’ve been in that position before, thought I’d finished second – and then woke up up thinking why people hadn’t helped me out,” continued Alistair.

“I’ll be thankful for the rest of my life. Obviously it takes a very strong and good person to do that,” Jonny told BBC Sport.

“Sometimes in sport we talk about winning being the most important thing in the world – and a lot of times it is – but maybe helping a brother out was more important.”

Read more on BBC.