/ The Brownlee Brother - Win at all cost or true sportsmanship

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Thelittlesthobo - on 20 Sep 2016

I have just read a facebook page (Amongst the many) regarding the Brownlee brothers recent act where one brother literally carried his brother over the line to finish second in a race. This is being flagged up as some kind of human sprited event whereby a man cant be left behind and its ok to finish second because its the taking part etc etc etc.

I see it completely differently. I havent watched the post race interviews but my take was the complete opposite.

1) The brownlee brothers are complete winners. Everything they do is geared towards winning
2) The brother that got into trouble had a chance of winning the series if not the race
3) The second brother knew that by not finishing the race his brother would not only sacrifice this race but the entire series
4) The second brother literally threw his brother over the line to get the best finish possible and then followed behind.

This wasnt a derek redmond getting helped over the line in the 400m olympics event. This was two amazing brothers doing everything they could to win an event/series. I am not going into the ethics of depriving a fellow competitor of his win because thankfully the guy who won the series did enough to make it irrellevant.

So do people think this is a example of true sportsmanship or do they think this is winners doing anything they can to get the job done. Be interested to know
Post edited at 12:33
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robert-hutton on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

I see it the same as yourself, but at that level of sports the only result you want is 1st, Alistair looked very comfortable running to that point in third I presume it was discussed pre race.

I am not taking anything away from them both as they are both great athletes and still take part and encourage the younger athletes n the low key fell races around Bingley.
Robert Durran - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:
Unless it is officially a team event, then I'm amazed that they can get away with this within the rules. Surely it is blatant cheating and they should both be disqualified, Jonathan for failing to finish the race unassisted and Alistair for assisting him. The whole thing seems to have been inappropriately romanticised.
Does anyone know what the rules actually say?

I also wonder what the reaction would have been if Jonathan had died as a result of his brother delaying proper medical care and keeping him moving when he was clearly in a potentially dangerous state.
Post edited at 13:36
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1poundSOCKS - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Does anyone know what the rules actually say?

There's an article on the BBC I think, implies it's okay, competitors help each other in other ways apparently, but perhaps not quite to this extreme.
Duncan Campbell - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS: yeah I'd imagine on the bike the athletes will group up to slipstream each other. So if they disqualified the brownlees on this it could be argued that the slipstreaming on the bike section is no different?

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1poundSOCKS - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

> yeah I'd imagine on the bike the athletes will group up to slipstream each other.

They work as a team yes, so it's team tactics. Help each other changing out of wetsuits, etc...
Robert Durran - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> There's an article on the BBC I think, implies it's okay.

Thanks, found it. Surprising to me but there you go....

"It's just a brother helping a brother."
Hardly seems fair on those who don't happen to have a brother or mate in the same race to help them. Would either of them have helped if it had been the guy who won the race who had collapsed? If not, then helping each other certainly seems poor sportsmanship even if it is within the rules.
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cap'nChino - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

This thing happens all the time, it is only the fact they were brothers and front runners which has made a bigger splash than normal.

It can easily be argued that it is in the spirit of things and it isn't in the spirit of things, its a grey area. I think it is an example of a winners mentality and sportsmanship. It is possible to display both at the same time.
Timmd on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:
The different countries have different levels of resources to support their athletes with too, though, and the different athletes have different life chances to do with how they got to that point in their lives.

I think if you step back and think of how the able brother gave up his own chance to win the race, given what other inequalities may exist in the bigger picture - it's possibly not hugely unfair given it didn't harm anybody else's results?
Post edited at 13:56
Thelittlesthobo - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:
Great replies guys. Its a difficult one because i saw the assistance as a brother trying to do whatever it takes for his brother to win. Wether it was within the rules i would say is for the organisors to judge. Thankfully it didnt come to that with 1st place but maybe the guy who came third in the series would have got a second place were it not for the intervention.

I still see it as a great example of will to win
Post edited at 14:01
Dan Arkle - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to:
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 - Quote from the 2nd Brother

Fun interview here http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/triathlon/37412774?ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbc_sport&ns_so...

1
galpinos on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I also wonder what the reaction would have been if Jonathan had died as a result of his brother delaying proper medical care and keeping him moving when he was clearly in a potentially dangerous state.

The nearest medical help was at the finish line.

Rigid Raider - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

It certainly looked dramatic and moving but.... did anybody notice the fallen brother a few seconds after he hit the ground? He looked up to check his other brother, then down, then up again briefly. I've never collapsed on the line so I wouldn't know but it came across to me as a fully conscious and calculated check, not the random flutterings of a confused eye and it made me wonder if the whole thing could have been an act.

Not bein' funny and just sayin', like, as Hayley always says on Private Eye's message boards.



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Robert Durran - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Timmd:
> I think if you step back and think of how the able brother gave up his own chance to win the race, given what other inequalities may exist in the bigger picture

Of course there are other inequalities which cannot be legislated for in practice, but surely the rules should be set so that at least the actual race is a level playing field.

> It's possibly not hugely unfair given it didn't harm anybody else's results?

Maybe in this case, but what if it had made the difference between Jonathan winning the race and the series and not winning it? Someone else would have been denied the win by someone who misjudged their race and effectively failed to finish it - clearly grossly unfair. It seems to me daft that the rules seem to allow this possibility.
Post edited at 14:18
Robert Durran - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to galpinos:

> The nearest medical help was at the finish line.

Do you really know that?

Anyway, Alistair could probably have put hm in the recovery position and run to the finish line to summon help more quickly on his own. There were others there who could have kept an eye on him and cooled him in the meantime.
Timmd on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Maybe in this case, but what if it had made the difference between Jonathan winning the race and the series and not winning it? Someone else would have been denied the win by someone who misjudged their race and effectively failed to finish it - clearly grossly unfair. It seems to me daft that the rules seem to allow this possibility.

That's a very fair point.
Toby_W on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

What they did made no difference other than one of them chose not to win the race to help his brother. They love what they do and have won just about everything so probably weren't bothered too much in this case.

I would put forward a third option to your two. Brothers being brothers. Life, winning, the moment is all put on hold and forgotten about as you feel sorry for, smirk, think about how you can rib them about it for years etc and then help them, these moments are worth more than anything.

If you really, really want to get into the rules head over to tritalk but I warn you, it's tediously dull (the thread that is) and ultimately they didn't break any.

Cheers

Toby
GrahamD - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

These races are not a level playing field as soon as they allow drafting on bikes (not all triathlons do). Pace setters in the swim or the run to a lesser extent.
Robert Durran - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to GrahamD:
> These races are not a level playing field as soon as they allow drafting on bikes (not all triathlons do). Pace setters in the swim or the run to a lesser extent.

The only triathlon I have watched was the recent Olympic one, so it's not something I know much about. Is drafting and pace setting allowed in the Olympics? Would they have been disqualified in the Olympics? If so, can you imagine it happening in the Olympics when the chips are really down?
Post edited at 15:07
galpinos on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

Alistair said it in his post race interview. The doctors aren't everywhere on the course and they were the nearest ones.
Robert Durran - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to galpinos:
> Alistair said it in his post race interview. The doctors aren't everywhere on the course and they were the nearest ones.

Fair enough, but I'd still question the wisdom of making someone already in a state of collapse jog another half mile or whatever it was. Can we presume that, if there had been medical help half way to the finishing line, he'd have dumped him there? Sorry, I know I'm playing devil's advocate, but my first thoughts on seeing the incident on TV were that it surely had to be cheating (apparently it surprsingly isn't though) and that it was pretty dangerous medically.
Post edited at 15:21
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GrahamD - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

I think it was OK in the olympics, but you can't use a tri bike / aero bars if drafting is allowed.
Thelittlesthobo - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Toby_W:

I dissagree Toby.

It made more difference than the one example you gave. It gave the distressed brother the chance to win the series by not have a DNF against his name. Massive difference in my book and the underlying reason for the action.

Brotherly love/team mates/friends - If they can help a team mate who has a chance of winning a series its understandable and the sign of champions. That was an instant choice by the stronger brother to keep his brothers chances of winning alive.
Robert Durran - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to GrahamD:

> I think it was OK in the olympics, but you can't use a tri bike.

A tricycle? ........ oh I see.
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Tomtom - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

No one seems to have mentioned instinct.
Running to the finish, you see your brother hanging out, stumbling, about to fail this race.
Maybe pure brotherly love and instinct took over, he grabbed his brother and helped him to the end.
He pushed him over the line consciously allowing him to take the place ahead of him, because that's how they would've place had he not taken ill.
I'm stunned that this is even being question, to be honest. I don't think it was sportsmanship, tactics, unfair assistance. I think it was love and instinct.
Thelittlesthobo - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

From what i have read i believe spain put in a complaint. Was it their athlete who cam third instead of second due to the brownlee brother getting finishing points? Was it a factor in the results at all?

Hmmm, i just dont see it as a sportsmanship, taking part and finishing is all that matters type of event. I see it as a win at all costs, this type of thing makes champions type event.
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galpinos on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

I think Johnny has form for flaking in the heat and Alistair did say that he thought it was the quickest way to get help as well as getting him across the line. I agree it's not the, "what great sportsmanship" story it's made out to be and I have no inclination to ever make myself do a triathlon so I've no idea of the rules!
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Thelittlesthobo - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Tomtom:

Seriously? You think he threw his brother over the line because its only fair as he was in front of him before? It wasnt just them crossing the line together, he actually pushes his brother over the line in front of him without support.

Instinct, yep i agree with that. Competitve instinct. Brotherly love - definately. Team mates - Definately

The only questioning i have is that people are holding it up as an example of the importance of taking part and finishing something. This had zero to do with that in my book

Robert Durran - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to galpinos:

> I think Johnny has form for flaking in the heat and Alistair did say that he thought it was the quickest way to get help as well as getting him across the line.

Ok, but I'm not sure he would have pushed him so that he collapsed over the line like that if the medical situation had been uppermost in his mind.
Toby_W on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

Yeah you're probably right (shoving him first over the line rather than jogging across together kinda kills the other ideas), I'd say it's probably a mix of things centred on that but it still made no difference (he lost the series, did he not?) (and we don't know he would not have finished the race), had it made a difference the online triathlon world would be in meltdown. You wonder if that would have made a difference to the judges verdict, is it any different to two team mates forming a break and then ruining themselves to give the third guy a decisive advantage in the run.
In case my rambling are not clear, I think you're right

Cheers

Toby
Robert Durran - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Tomtom:
> I think it was love and instinct.

If it had been against the rules, do you think instinct would still have taken over?



Thelittlesthobo - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

Whatever happened i would be proud of them if they were my kids regardless. Great brotherly love, competitve spirit, against all odds type of stuff.

Might give the brother a bit of a telling off for risking his brothers health to finish/win but as mentioned, instinct.

Finally, after watching these brothers compete, my guess is they will just come back better and make sure it doesnt happen again
Timmd on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:
> If it had been against the rules, do you think instinct would still have taken over?

He'd have probably still wanted to help his brother - who knows what else would have happened...?
Post edited at 17:06
The New NickB - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Unless it is officially a team event, then I'm amazed that they can get away with this within the rules. Surely it is blatant cheating and they should both be disqualified, Jonathan for failing to finish the race unassisted and Alistair for assisting him. The whole thing seems to have been inappropriately romanticised.

> Does anyone know what the rules actually say?

I've not seen a rule stating anything either way. The Spanish team lodged an official complaint, as they had an athlete in 3rd in the championship as well as Mola in 1st. The ITU dismissed the complaint.
The New NickB - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

The Brownlees are paced through the swim by a Slovakian called Richard Varga, who trains with them in Leeds, they then work as a team to maintain the pace on the bike. In the Olympics they have had a third member of the British team who's job it is to help them come off the bikes with a lead. It was Gordon Benson in Rio, but he crashed on the bike. At Rio, the Brownlees were in a small group including Varga that were first off the bike, that group then raced each other for the medals.
The New NickB - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Rigid Raider:

> It certainly looked dramatic and moving but.... did anybody notice the fallen brother a few seconds after he hit the ground? He looked up to check his other brother, then down, then up again briefly. I've never collapsed on the line so I wouldn't know but it came across to me as a fully conscious and calculated check, not the random flutterings of a confused eye and it made me wonder if the whole thing could have been an act.

For what purpose? It cost him the championship.
FactorXXX - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

Ok, but I'm not sure he would have pushed him so that he collapsed over the line like that if the medical situation had been uppermost in his mind.

Quite. They were within a hundred or so yards from the finish line. If he was that concerned for his welfare, he would have stopped, assisted him and called out 'Medic'. The way it's being portrayed, it's as if he carried him ten miles through enemy lines...
The reason he didn't and the fact that he pushed him over the line in front of him was for one reason only i.e. he wanted to give his brother a better chance of winning the title.
Saying that, can't blame him for his quick thinking!
andy - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to FactorXXX: it was rather more than 100 yards - more like 500m (watch the video).

Remember Ali B has had the same thing happen to him (London?) so he probably knew it's not really life threatening.



In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

it was nice, but he should give up his points for that race.
Robert Durran - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to sebastian dangerfield:

> it was nice, but he should give up his points for that race.

Now that really would be true sportsmanship.
Robert Durran - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

> The Brownlees are paced through the swim by a Slovakian called Richard Varga, who trains with them in Leeds, they then work as a team to maintain the pace on the bike. In the Olympics they have had a third member of the British team who's job it is to help them come off the bikes with a lead.

I can accept an individual having a team behind them when it's entirely official or out in the open, everyone is doing it and everyone knows that some of the recognition duly goes to the team (such as in the Tour de France), but it does seem unfair if some of the Olympic competitors have a team to help them and others don't. It also seems unfortunate if some people are being denied a chance to compete in the Olympics because their potential place has been taken by somebody just along as a pacemaker.
mountain.martin - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

Like any cycle race, triathlon is tactical, anyone who is good enough to keep up with Varga, the brownlees and the other good swimmers could just sit in behind them if they wanted and save their energy for the run. The fact is very few are good enough.

To attack on the swim or the bike they have to work with a small group, no one could no one could stay away on their own. This happens all the time in bike races, and people work with anyone as long as they think it could benefit them. and give them an advantage over other racers, no one thinks this is strange, or unsporting.

Before the Brownlees came along triathlons where a lot less interesting as there were seldom significant breaks on the bike leg, a big group would set out on the run together and the best runner would win. The Brownlees & Gomez are strong enough across the three disciplines that they can race the whole event. They should be applauded for doing so when they are pretty much the strongest runners anyway so they would probably still win even if they took it easy in a big pack on the bike.
Robert Durran - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to mountain.martin:

> Like any cycle race, triathlon is tactical, anyone who is good enough to keep up with Varga, the brownlees and the other good swimmers could just sit in behind them if they wanted and save their energy for the run.

Yes, but presumably the fact that those three can preplan tactics and have Varga to "sacrifice" as a pacemaker must give them an added advantage over those who just have to make do with whoever they find around them on the day, otherwise they wouldn't do it.
Robert Durran - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to mountain.martin:
> This happens all the time in bike races, and people work with anyone as long as they think it could benefit them. and give them an advantage over other racers, no one thinks this is strange, or unsporting.

Well, as someone looking at it very much from the outside, I find it a bit unsatisfactory in what is supposed to be an individual race. Perhaps it's only come not to be considered unsporting because it's almost impossible to legislate against in its more subtle forms (even though not doing so can result in the sort of farce we saw yesterday). Is this why time trials are held in cycling in order to find out who is really the best?
mountain.martin - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

I don't see it as sacrificing varga. He is just a very strong swimmer, and pretty good on the bike. His best chance of doing well is to get away with a small group on the bike. If he didn't lead out the swim there would be more chance of a much bigger group on the bike and as he isn't so strong on the run a lower finish at the end.
Anyone else is free to swim on his feet on the like the brownlees try to do, or swim on the brownlees feet and come out of the swim with them. If they are good enough.

I agree, that this event was different, and if he had won the world championship after being carried across the line by his brother that would seem unsporting. But I can fully understand Alastair's thinking in the heat of the competition. This will have been all they were thinking about and planning since the Olympics, and they must both be ultra competitive to have achieved what they have. I also agree with the posters who think a bit if spin is being put on this by some of the press. In this instance I think it was a competitive urge as their goal was to get Jonny across the line first. I'm sure if Alastair had a chance of winning the world championship he would not have been giving it up to carry his brother.

Because of early season injuries he didn't have that chance.
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The New NickB - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

Varga benefits, do you really think that the Slovakians would really pick him for the Olympics if his only job was to help GB win medals.
flopsicle - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

I think it's important to remember that had he parkoured over his brother's flailing limbs with a T-shirt saying 'PWNED' on the back it would only have served to increase the wealth of the Daily Mail.

Sports in general are just better when the Daily Mail can't be bothered with them.
Thelittlesthobo - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

Great conversations guys.

The one point that got me was mountain.martin. Would the same thing have happened if Alistair was in with a chance of winning the series/race? Hmm, now that would definately have been sportsmanship or made him look like a monster, stepping over his own brother to win the race/series. I would have done a cartwheel over my brothers if it meant winning ;-)
Robert Durran - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to mountain.martin:

> I don't see it as sacrificing Varga. He is just a very strong swimmer, and pretty good on the bike. His best chance of doing well is to get away with a small group on the bike. If he didn't lead out the swim there would be more chance of a much bigger group on the bike and as he isn't so strong on the run a lower finish at the end.

Fair enough. Your use of the word "paced" made me assume he was like a pacer in athletics who runs fast at a preplanned pace for a preplanned number of laps and then drops out or falls back knackered.

Mentioning athletics, while pacemakers have always been accepted in record attempts in otherwise relatively meaningless races, I think it would be a great shame if team tactics became prevalent in distance races in championship races - am I right in thinking there was mention of the Kenyans doing this to try to beat Farah in the Olympics? Imagine how sterile and devalued the golden years of British middle distance running would have been if Coe, Ovett and Cram had been under "team orders" to help each other share out the honours.

> I agree, that this event was different, and if he had won the world championship after being carried across the line by his brother that would seem unsporting.

And it was clearly, and I think quite rightly, felt to be unsporting by the Spanish guy who got knocked down the rankings by the Brownlees' behaviour. I don't think you can say it is only ok because it didn't effect the actual winner.



Robert Durran - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to flopsicle:

> I think it's important to remember that had he parkoured over his brother's flailing limbs with a T-shirt saying 'PWNED' on the back.........

I expect it would be being held up as a wonderful example of brotherly banter (assuming he hadn't actually died).

mountain.martin - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

Fair point Robert, I can understand the brownlees actions given the heat of the moment and their ultra competitive nature. I can also understand that any athlete who was disadvantaged by this action could feel aggrieved. So they had to turn to the rule book, which in this case supported the brownlees action.
I can understand why the rules allow help from other competitors, maybe in light of this event they need to be more specific about the circumstances, and that actual forward propulsion to get someone else across the line should not be permitted.
derryclimbs - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

I think it of as neither. I see it more as a brother doing all he can for his sibling. If I saw either of my brothers struggling like that I'd do everything I could to help them, whether it being a sporting event or not, coming first or last. I doubt competition points or being a good sportsman ever came into the equation.
Robert Durran - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to mountain.martin:

> Fair point Robert, I can understand the brownlees actions given the heat of the moment and their ultra competitive nature. I can also understand that any athlete who was disadvantaged by this action could feel aggrieved. So they had to turn to the rule book, which in this case supported the brownlees action.

So I think that, now that the heat of the moment has passed, the truly sporting thing for Jonathan to do would be to give up his points for the race (if the rules allow that......).

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mountain.martin - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

Alastair is ultra competitive, and appears pretty ruthless (in a good sporting sense, he comes across as a nice guy out of competition), I'm pretty sure he would hurdle over a fallen competitor if he didn't think they were actually dying and he could win a race. As would most, if not all the competitors. The south African ran past the brownlees at the weekend to take the win.
mountain.martin - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

That would be very sporting, but how many points should he give up? If his brother hadn't helped him, after a 30 second break he might have stumbled the rest of the way and only finished a couple of places behind where he did finish.
Robert Durran - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to mountain.martin:

> Alastair is ultra competitive......

I don't think anyone gets to the very top of any competitive sport without being ruthlessly competitive.............. though that far from necessarily means they have to be unsporting.

> If his brother hadn't helped him, after a 30 second break he might have stumbled the rest of the way.

Possibly, but he looked completely out of it to me....... I don't think he was going anywhere.
mountain.martin - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

We will never know what would have happened if his brother hadn't helped him. I don't see the action as being unsporting I see it as Alastair helping his brother try to achieve his goal, and doing it within the (current) rules.

I'm pretty sure that in the heat of the moment he wasn't thinking of his action as disadvantaging others, and quite possibly he wasn't actually thinking about or aware of whether his actions were against the rules.
I should think he was just thinking of helping his brother achieve his goal. Which he had decided, because of the circumstances was a common goal for the two of them.

I think that would be my thoughts and response if I was in that situation.

I can understand others who feel they might have been disadvantaged feeling aggreived, I can understand that they might want to challenge the result, which they did.I can understand that now people might call for a revision of the rules. I can understand your thought that maybe he should give up some points from this race. But i'm not sure if many athletes would.
Al Evans on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to mountain.martin:

There was girl in the Rio Olympics that stopped when both had fallen in I think the 1500 mts, she helped the other girl who came off worst to the finish and was praised as a true Olympian, Why is this different.
Jim C - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:
The guy should have stopped and got his brother medical help , and forgotten about the race .

Edit He should be disqualified for being helped anyway, so it was a pointless exercise.
Post edited at 12:37
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The New NickB - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Al Evans:

I think is is fairly obvious why this is different Al, they weren't even team mates, never mind siblings. Ali started the race with the aim of helping his little brother win the race and putting places between Jonny and Mario Mola. I have no problems with the actions of either Brownlee, but it is clearly different.
The New NickB - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Jim C:

> Edit He should be disqualified for being helped anyway, so it was a pointless exercise.

The International Triathlon Union / Race Referee disagree.
Jim C - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

> The International Triathlon Union / Race Referee disagree.

Rule change needed then to clarify this as being wrong.
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The New NickB - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Jim C:

> Rule change needed then to clarify this as being wrong.

Do you demand rule changes in all sports you don't understand?
Jim C - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

I trust in my own judgement of sportsmanship ( thats sadly why I seldom watch any sport these days, haveing been very keen when I was younger. )
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Robert Durran - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:
> I think is is fairly obvious why this is different Al, they weren't even team mates, never mind siblings.

Nor are the Brownlees team mates; they are individuals in an individual race who happen to be from the same country and to be siblings.

> I have no problems with the actions of either Brownlee, but it is clearly different.

If what they did was not against the rules then fair enough on this occasion but it was blatantly not in the sporting spirit of an individual event and I can only imagine that, when the rules were made up, nothing like this was anticipated and legislated for. It should be obvious to any fair minded person that the rules should be changed to avoid a similar situation in future.
Post edited at 12:57
fred99 - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Jim C:

> Rule change needed then to clarify this as being wrong.

And if you personally disagree with the lbw (cricket) or offside (soccer or rugby) rules, then presumably you would want those changed to suit your preferences too.

Each and every sport has rules to abide to.
It is up to each and every sport to set them for themselves.
It is up to each and every sport to amend them if they so choose.

It is not for any whinger anywhere who probably has never had anything to do with a sport to tell any sport what their rules (and the interpretation thereon) should be.
The New NickB - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Nor are the Brownlees team mates; they are individuals in an individual race who happen to be from the same country and to be siblings.

You are missing my point Robert.

> If what they did was not against the rules then fair enough on this occasion but it was blatantly not in the sporting spirit of an individual event and I can only imagine that, when the rules were made up, nothing like this was anticipated and legislated for. It should be obvious to any fair minded person that the rules should be changed to avoid a similar situation in future.

Except it is in a sport where working together is officially sanctioned in the rules, not specifically for the swimming or running elements, but still it is there, showing it is not a purely solo event.
Robert Durran - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:
> You are missing my point Robert.

Ok, can you explain it then please?

> Except it is in a sport where working together is officially sanctioned in the rules, not specifically for the swimming or running elements, but still it is there, showing it is not a purely solo event.

And when the rules were made up, do you think this sort of thing was anticipated?

It just seems unfair that the rules allow two brothers to work that closely together to gain an advantage when there might be a sole competitor from another country with no mates in the race for whom it's just not going to happen (though I would hope that good sportsmanship would mean that any other competitor might check they were ok and that medical help was on the way).
Post edited at 13:20
r0b - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

http://www.triathlon.org/uploads/docs/itusport_competition-rules_november20151.pdf

Maybe have a read of that before commenting on a sport that you obviously don't understand?
The New NickB - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

The ladies in the Olympic 1500m were not team mates and in one going to the aid of the other, neither gained any real advantage. It was sportsmanship.

Ali helped Jonny, because they are teammates (they definitely are) and siblings. It wasn't sportsmanship, it was helping his brother.

I don't have a problem with it, neither does the ITU, you obviously do.
The New NickB - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

This situation was unusual, but all sorts of people work to help each other in this level of triathlon, for all sorts of reasons. Some of which I have explained.
Robert Durran - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to r0b:

> Maybe have a read of that before commenting on a sport that you obviously don't understand?

Am I looking for something which explicitly or implicitly permits the Brownlees' behaviour (in which case, since you presumably understand the sport so well, maybe you could direct me to it) or just the absence of something explicitly forbidding it. If the latter, then my earlier comment that the rule makers probably hadn't anticipated such blatantly unfair behaviour stands. And if the former, then I think I only need a broad understanding of the idea of fairness in competitive sport in general to find it at least pretty odd.
Post edited at 13:46
2
Thelittlesthobo - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

This is a hole different topic and one that i dont know enough about the rules to make too much comment. However i can see where Rober Durran is coming from.

Its not like the cycling events where they are team events and slip stream each other and its about the last mans finishing time rather than the fastest. Its not like the TDF where they employ 'mules' to get them up hills etc only for the Top rider to shoot out and take the win. This is an individual event whereby we are making the most of the rules and our facilities and the fact we are lucky enough to have 2 of the best competitors in the world.

Not sure where i stand on that tbh. If there is a competitor who doesnt have this benefit but in a 1-1 would beat both brownlee brothers then i reckon its a shame he is missing out because of this.

On a similar vein then, how do triatheletes take to being slipstreamed for the entire race to take advantage of having to put less energy in? If i was the other guy and confident in my running then surely this is a valid tactic.
Robert Durran - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

> Ali helped Jonny, because they are teammates (they definitely are) and siblings. It wasn't sportsmanship, it was helping his brother.

How can they be team mates in an individual event? Do they enter as an official team? Are there any others in their team? Are some competitors in teams and others not? If there are teams, are they all the same size?

Mr Lopez - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to r0b:

That doesn't seem to clear the issue much.

2.CONDUCT OF ATHLETES:

2.1.General Conduct

a.) Triathlon and ITUís other related multisports involve many athletes. Race tactics are part of the interaction between athletes. Athletes will:

(viii) Compete without receiving assistance other than from event personnel and officials


6. RUNNING CONDUCT:

6.1. General Rules:
a.) The athletes will

(vii) Not be accompanied by team members, team managers or other pacemakers on the course;
The New NickB - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

> Its not like the cycling events where they are team events and slip stream each other and its about the last mans finishing time rather than the fastest. Its not like the TDF where they employ 'mules' to get them up hills etc only for the Top rider to shoot out and take the win. This is an individual event whereby we are making the most of the rules and our facilities and the fact we are lucky enough to have 2 of the best competitors in the world.

The cycling element of the triathlon at this level specifically allows riding as a team, other triathlon events don't. In the Olympics the British men's team specifically has a competitor who's job it is to ride for the Browlees.

> Not sure where i stand on that tbh. If there is a competitor who doesnt have this benefit but in a 1-1 would beat both brownlee brothers then i reckon its a shame he is missing out because of this.

Brownlees are good enough to win on their own most of the time.

> On a similar vein then, how do triatheletes take to being slipstreamed for the entire race to take advantage of having to put less energy in? If i was the other guy and confident in my running then surely this is a valid tactic.

Sitting on is a valid tactic, but it won't make you popular. Often a group will try and break from strong runners on the bike.

Robert Durran - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Mr Lopez:
> That doesn't seem to clear the issue much............

> 2.CONDUCT OF ATHLETES: .............

I found that bit too and it seemed to me the bit most likely to be relevant. It doesn't seem to explicitly allow or disallow the Brownlees' behaviour. It tends to make me think that they probably got away with it because the rule makers simply hadn't anticipated the situation.

To those rather condescendingly telling us that we shouldn't be querying the rules of a sport we "don't understand", I presume the world class Spanish triathlete who appealed doesn't understand the sport either. It all seems to add up to the rules being not fit for purpose.
Post edited at 14:19
The New NickB - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

The TdF is an individual event that you enter as a team.

Triathletes entered under the same team management eg. British Triathlon are considered team mates.
Thelittlesthobo - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

Your not realy clarifying though Nick.

Normally they dont allow riding as a team but in the olympics they do. So normally its seen as unfair but olymplics its fair enough. Britain have enough funds to put a guy in just to drag the brownlees along on the ride so thats a little bit unfair on those that cant. Not really in the spirit of individual events in my book.

Brownlees are good enough to win on their own most of the time. Well yeah i totally agree but i said what if a guy is capable of beating them in a 1-1 race but hasnt got these benfits then the brownlees arent really beating him in my book.

Sitting is a valid tactic but wont make you popular - But having your own pace man to do the same job is popular. I dont understand how having enough money to 'use' your own pace man is acceptable but using a competitor isnt. In my book where competition counts i know which one gets my respect more.

Its a difficult one because i understand the benefits of drafting a cyclist brings. I understand that by training for hours and hours and months and months you can get the added benefit of that work by either saving energy on the bike or being quicker. But in an individual event i am somewhat torn in the ethics used.

The New NickB - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

The athlete didn't appeal, his team did (just to make the point about teams).
The New NickB - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:
Not just the Olympics, all ITU world level events, including last weekends race.

Having someone to take the lions share of the work on the bike isn't about money, it's about tactics. As it happens he crashed early at the Olympics and the Brownlees had to do it all on their own.
Post edited at 14:29
Robert Durran - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:
> Brownlees are good enough to win on their own most of the time.

That is obviously irrelevant. If they were just a tiny bit not as good at this level, their collaboration might make a crucial difference. It might have in this case in only very slightly different circumstances.
Post edited at 14:29
Thelittlesthobo - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

Yes i read about that, i believe it may have been a big factor in why this happened. They had to do so much more work on the bike than usual.

If i was at this level and able to keep up with the brownlees on the run then i would be arguing that sitting on someones shoulder is much more sportsmanlike than having my own pace setter.
Robert Durran - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

> The athlete didn't appeal, his team did (just to make the point about teams).

I'm not sure it does make the point. All British Olympians are in "Team GB". By "team" you are just referring to their equivalent (or it's triathlon subset) - it doesn't mean that they are officially racing as a team on a level playing field with other teams.
Thelittlesthobo - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

This reminds me of the british cycling & TDF where teams are looking at us with genuinely suspicous eyes because we are nailing it every time.

It seems that as a country we are either becoming very good at cheating without detection, or (IMO) we are the best at finding loopholes in rules and extracting 100% out of them to our benefit. A bit like F1 where they give rules on rear wing size and one manufacturer makes his wing flexible so it changes form at certain speeds. Its within the rules but not what was meant.

Not sure how i feel about it
Robert Durran - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

> Yes i read about that, i believe it may have been a big factor in why this happened. They had to do so much more work on the bike than usual.

> If i was at this level and able to keep up with the brownlees on the run then I would be arguing that sitting on someones shoulder is much more sportsmanlike than having my own pace setter.

Absolutely.

Going back to those rules, I think it is obvious that it would make total sense to add a clause which says that competitors cannot either impede or assist each other by direct physical contact*. There would then be no debate. I concede that less direct forms of assistance such as pacemaking and slipstreaming are almost impossible to legislate and probably might as well be considered part of the game, sportsmanlike or not.

*Or if the sport really wants to allow direct physical assistance then the rules should explicitly allow it.

The New NickB - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

It may not be a level playing field, very few sports are, but they are definately a team.
Robert Durran - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:
> It may not be a level playing field, very few sports are,.

But one of the main points of the rule book in any sport is to make it as level as possible.

> ...... but they are definitely a team.

Serious question: Are they a team in a similar way to teams in the TdF or in a less formal way? More or less formal than the Kenyans in the Olymopic 10000m?
And is everyone in the triathlon also in a team?
Post edited at 14:59
r0b - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

You keep going on about triathlon being an individual sport. At elite level (like this race) drafting is allowed on the bike, so there will be alliances forming organically as the athletes team up to further there own interests, just the same as in a bunch cycling race. In this race the Brownlees and six others formed a "team" on the bike to work together and gain a 90 second head start on everyone else at the start of the run, obviously this benefited all of them.

Now when it comes to Alistair helping Jonny to the finish line the key point is whether this constituted outside assistance (which would be a DQ) or not. The rulebook is rather contradictory as to whether an athlete helping another athlete on the run is outside assistance or not, not particularly surprising as this was an exceptional circumstance that no-one can remember ever happening before. On the day of the race the Spanish federation appealed the result but the technical officials decided that it did not constitute outside assistance and the results stood. The Spanish federation have lodged a further appeal which will be held over the next few weeks; whichever way this goes I would expect the rules to be amended before next season to clear up this kind of situation.
The New NickB - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Serious question: Are they a team in a similar way to teams in the TdF or in a less formal way? More or less formal than the Kenyans in the Olymopic 10000m?

The Kenyans are clearly a team, but don't work particularly well as a team, at least in the 10,000m, the Ethiopeans are also a team, but work even less well than the Kenyans. Obviously in athletics, outside of relays, a strong team is less important than in cycling, particularly in a stage race such as the TdF.

Elite triathlon is probably somewhere in between. Teamwork, or informal alliances can make a big difference.

> And is everyone in the triathlon also in a team?

Most of the elite field will either be in a national team or if they are the only person competing from their country be part of a training group or have some other way of forming alliances on the road. We have already talked about Richard Varga, he was the only Slovakian in the Olympic Triathlon, but he trains in Leeds with the Browlees and they all worked together during the race.

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Robert Durran - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to r0b:
> You keep going on about triathlon being an individual sport.

I now understand that it is probably best described as an individual sport (after all there are only individual, not team medals) in which it accepted that competitors form unofficial mutually beneficial alliances (a better, less misleading word then team).

> Now when it comes to Alistair helping Jonny to the finish line the key point is whether this constituted outside assistance (which would be a DQ) or not. The rulebook is rather contradictory.................................

Indeed.

> The Spanish federation have lodged a further appeal which will be held over the next few weeks; whichever way this goes I would expect the rules to be amended before next season to clear up this kind of situation.

Good. This is pretty much what I have been arguing should happen.
Post edited at 15:24
mountain.martin - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

Last weekends events were exceptional, and seem to be allowed by the current rules, but I wouldn't be surprused if the rules were changed to forbid such a level of assistance in future.

I'm not sure how many of you are aware that Richard Murray, who is a training partner of Mario Mola actually slowed down and waited before the finish line and was perpared to let Mola overtake him to secure the title ahead of jonny. In the end, because of Jonny's collapse he didn't need to so crossed the line just ahead of Mola.

Murray isn't Mola's brother, or even countryman, just his training partner. If this had happened it would have been a similar level of assistance and should in my opinion not be permitted in future.

One athlete being sacrificed to help another gain advantage, doesn't really happen apart from these exceptional circumstances. It was put forward as a tactic in the olympics, but didn't actually happen, the third brit was way behind the brownlees when he crashed out.

Working together for mutual benefit seems like a completely different matter and something that the brownlees and some other athletes are good at. But any other athlete who is good enough could sit on the back of the lead pack for the swim and the run and start on the run a lot fresher than their competitors. Very few are good enough to do so, and those that can still usually get beaten by the brownlees on the run. That's how good they are.
Thelittlesthobo - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to mountain.martin:

Well put. Agree with all of that

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