The elite men’s Grand Final race at ITU World Championships in Cozumel may go down as the most dramatic in WTS history. The video below shows an unexpected finish from the Brownlee brothers.
— World Triathlon (@worldtriathlon) September 19, 2016
With just metres to go before the finish line, world champion contender Jonny Brownlee appears to almost collapse on the sidelines, but his brother Alistair, who’s in the lead, rushes to his side to support him to finish line in second and third respectively. South Africa’s Henri Schoeman, who earned bronze in Rio behind the Brownlees, wins his first WTS title. Richard Murray, who comes in safely in fourth, waits for his friend and training partner Mario Mola and the two cross the finish line simultaneously, placing well enough for Mola to take the overall series title and be crowned world champion.
“First of all this was not how I wanted to win the world championship. Luckily I was able to be in the top five considering Jonny didn’t win the race. To be honest, I was already considering that the role of Alistair was to help Jonny,” said Mola of his newly earned crown. “Considering that, I thought, well I’m going to be second again, but at least I will fight until the end. And when I heard Jonny isn’t feeling well, I thought ‘I need to fight to the end’. We want everyone to be safe after the finish line, it’s not the way I wanted it, but that’s triathlon.”
Following an appeal by the Spanish Triathlon Federation to disqualify Jonathan Brownlee for accepting assistance from Alistair Brownlee to finish the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Cozumel, during which Jonathan struggled with heat exhaustion in the final portion of the run, the ITU competition jury unanimously ruled against disqualifying Jonathan. The ITU Competition Jury made this decision in accordance to Appendix K, Rule 7, which states that athletes can receive help from another athlete, Technical Official or Race Official.
“I have been in that position before, when it happened to me in London a few years ago, I remember being in second place and then coming around and someone telling me I was in tenth,” Alistair Brownlee said. “I couldn’t remember all of those people passing me. So I swore that, literally if it happened to anyone I would help them across the line. It is an awful position to be in, if he clunks out 1k from the finish line there is no medical support, it is a dangerous position to be in. Obviously the World Series is a big race, but I just had to do what was right in that situation.”
Schoeman was happy with his WTS win but gracefully acknowledged the efforts of the Brownlees as well.
“I knew it was going to be warm out there. I just tried to stay calm throughout the whole race. I was just running with the Brownlees and trying not to exert too much and then I saw Jonny pull ahead on that third lap. So it is just so unfortunate that he collapsed at the end, I think both Brownlees deserve one and two, but it is an overall race that counts and I am the one who ended up the strongest. So I am really happy with that.”