Jonny clearly receiving assistance to finish the race.
There’s no shame in a glorious failure.
I’ve had people asking for my take on the decision regarding the Brownlees’ finish at the Cozumel Grand Final and the Spanish Federation’s request that both brothers be disqualified.
It will be a short blog. As short as the time that should have been needed for the Race Referee to say:
‘Great job boys. But sorry Jonny, you’re out.’
I honestly don’t know how it can be seen any other way. A clear, unemotional decision. Interpret the rules however you want, but there is one question and one question only:
‘Did Jonny require assistance to get to the finish line?’
Yes, of course he did and I’m yet to find one reasonable fan looking at the replay who would acknowledge otherwise.
First by the ITU steward in the blue, and then by his brother.
It’s a DQ every day of the week. If it was 22nd dragging 23rd over the finish line we wouldn’t even be having the debate. The referees would have disqualified him before he got to the finish.
There’s no bigger fan of those brothers and the style in which they race than me. They’ve helped bring the sport into a new era and produced so many wonderful moments.
But sport is sometimes cruel.
What took place at Cozumel was a highly emotional act of brotherly love. A very moving moment, and one that deserved all the attention it got. But it was not within the rules or even the spirit of them.
With that, let’s stop right now with the vilification of the South African (Henri Schoeman) who finished on top.
He too will have dreamed his whole life of getting on the podium. What did he do wrong?
Get his race strategy wrong? Did he stop Jonny from using the water stations? De he trip, punch or knock him down intentionally? No, he just did what Jonny has done himself hundreds of times through his career – see an opponent’s moment of weakness and seize it with both hands.
I congratulate him on a brilliant race.
As to calling the Spanish cowardly for putting in the protests to get their man on the overall series podium. What can you say? In the face of such an potential breach any Federation not making such a protest on behalf of their athlete would be totally negiglent in their responsibilities.
And it leads to the bigger point that I think most of the tri world have ignored in the aftermath.
Aside from Alarza, what about the man in 15th that missed out on the last pay cheque because he is not a super star?
Jonny is a millionaire (deservedly) who earns more in a month than many of these athletes will make in a career. So if you are arguing compassion as the reason for upholding the result, how about we show some compassion for the pros struggling to crack the top 20.
‘Sorry guys, your hero who collapsed today will take the money because we’re too scared to look bad in front of the international media.’
I may be wrong, but to me had the decision been made on the day the warrior in Jonny would have accepted his fate and people from around the world would have still been equally captivated by the selfless (but ultimately futile) sacrifice of his brother.
People this is sport. This is honour. There is no shame in glorious failure. Especially for one whose career is filled with triumphs.
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