British brothers Jonny and Alistair Brownlee are the two best triathletes in the world at the Olympic distance, and they’re also some of the finest brothers in all of sports.
At the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Cozumel, Jonny Brownlee had a comfortable lead in the final stretch of the run when, all of a sudden, his legs gave out. He looked completely dazed and had a difficult time standing, appearing to suffer from exhaustion or dehydration. His race looked all but over, as did his chances for the title.
Moments later, Alistair came running around the bend neck and neck with South African Henri Schoeman, locked in a battle that had suddenly gone from a race for silver to a race for gold.
But instead of leaving his brother on the side of the road and trying to out-sprint Schoeman for the victory, Alistair let Schoeman go and instead went over to Jonny, who was being held up by a race volunteer.
Jonny could barely stand, so Alistair threw his arm over his own shoulder and together they began to jog toward the finish line. At the line, Alistair let Jonny go and he collapsed over the line for second. Alistair took third.
It was an unbelievable scene.
Here’s the video, courtesy of World Triathlon:
— World Triathlon (@worldtriathlon) September 19, 2016
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Brownlee brothers together at the finish line of important triathlons, of course.
At the Rio Olympics in August, they had just run away from the field to finish first and second overall. After Jonny crossed the finish line for silver, Alistair — who had just won gold — met him with open arms, and the brothers collapsed onto the ground in exhausted celebration.
While a gold-silver finish is obviously better than a silver-bronze finish, Alistair’s decision to give up a shot at a title in order to help his brother is one of the best moments we’ve seen in sports in some time.
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