The grand finale of the World Triathlon Championship series took place on the Mexican island of Cozumel on Sunday – and it witnessed one of the most incredible finishes to an elite sporting event ever seen.
Jonny Brownlee, the younger of the two Brownlee brothers, was striding clear of the field and looked all set to claim victory – and with it, the overall World Triathlon Series title.
But just a few hundred metres from the finish line, his strength gave way. Gave way completely.
Jonny was barely able to stand up, much less make his way to the finish line – yet incredibly, his Olympic champion brother Alistair (who had been trailing) caught up to him, and gave up his own hopes of winning the race by hauling his younger sibling over the line:
These truly incredible scenes concluded with Alistair stopping a yard short of the line and shoving Jonny across, to ensure that he would get silver.
Presumably, Alistair was hoping that the brothers’ Spanish rival Mario Mola was far enough back down the field that Jonny’s second place would be enough for the title. It wasn’t, however: Mola finished fifth to earn the crown by just four points.
Jonny was taken to hospital and put on a drip as a precaution, but was reportedly fine within a few minutes of the finish.
Not how I wanted to end the season, but gave it everything. Thanks @AliBrownleetri, your loyalty is incredible
The race, incidentally, was won by Henri Schoemann of South Africa.
As for how other competitors saw the Brownlee intervention?
Well, at least one of them was none too chuffed: an official protest was made. Wisely, however, the competition judges decided to let the result stand – and thereby avoided becoming the most vilified men in sport.