Cozumel

Alistair Brownlee gives up chance to win to help collapsing brother cross finish (video)

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In an incredible act of sportsmanship and brotherly love, two-time Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee gave up a shot of winning the World Triathlon Series Grand Final to help his heat-exhausted younger brother across the finish line.

Two-time Olympic medalist Jonny Brownlee appeared to be in serious trouble while leading in the final kilometer, after 1 hour, 45 minutes of racing in Cozumel. Legs wobbled. Arms flailed. Finally, Jonny grimaced and his eyes veered left. He slowed to a stop and had to be held up by somebody on the side of the run course.

Behind him, Alistair and South African Henri Schoeman had been battling for second place. They came up to pass a stopped Jonny for the lead.

That’s when Alistair chose his brother over a possible victory, stopping and wrapping Jonny’s right arm around his own neck. Alistair could tell just how dire the situation was.

“It’s as close to death as you’re going to be in sport,” he said later of Jonny.

Alistair helped Jonny the rest of the way, about 80 seconds of jogging together. Alistair pushed Jonny across the finish line in front of himself for second place, as Jonny was in contention for the season-long world title and Alistair was not. They were 18 seconds behind Schoeman.

Spain’s Mario Mola later finished fifth, by four seconds, to clinch the world title by a mere four points over Jonny (4,819 to 4,815). The world title is decided by a points accumulation from results in the winter, spring and summer.

At the finish, Jonny fell to the blue carpet after Alistair let go, was eventually wheeled off in a chair and taken to a hospital for precaution, but he would be OK.

Alistair said he would have stopped for anybody in that situation and not just his brother. He recalled his own battle with exhaustion at the end of a World Triathlon Series race in London in 2010 (video here).

Had Jonny kept his lead Sunday and finished first, he would have topped Mola for the world title.

“I wish the flippin’ idiot just paced it right and crossed the finish line first,” Alistair said. “He could have jogged that last 2K and won the race, but who am I to talk?”

MORE: Gwen Jorgensen denied third straight world title

Gwen Jorgensen denied third straight World Triathlon Championship

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Gwen Jorgensen‘s bid for an unprecedented third straight world title was denied by Bermuda’s Flora Duffy in the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in steamy Cozumel, Mexico, on Saturday.

Jorgensen, who on Aug. 20 became the first American to win an Olympic triathlon title, finished second to Duffy in the last competition of the season.

“I told myself at the beginning of the year I’d be happy if I won nothing but the Olympics, so I should be happy,” Jorgensen told the host broadcaster. “I’m obviously disappointed right now.”

Duffy came into Cozumel with a lead in the season-long world championship standings and the knowledge that she would clinch her first world title by finishing within one spot of Jorgensen on Saturday.

“I’m kind of speechless right now,” Duffy said. “I have no idea how that happened. You always hope and wish and train for the perfect day. The perfect day came exactly when I needed it, when the pressure was on.”

Full Cozumel results are here.

Jorgensen, who won 13 straight top-level triathlons in 2014 and 2015, faced the deficit in large part because she skipped half of the eight previous World Series races this season.

The best way to accumulate points toward the world title is to add up one’s top five finishes in World Series races, plus the Grand Final. Because she competed in not five but four World Series races before the Grand Final, Jorgensen had to count fewer points from a lower-level World Cup race.

Jorgensen was trying to become the first woman to win three straight world titles and the second to win three titles overall, joining Australian Emma Snowsill.

Jorgensen has expressed a desire to start a family, but she has at least two more competitions lined up this fall: a three-day triathlon stage race in the Bahamas from Oct. 28-30, followed by her marathon debut at the New York City Marathon the following weekend.

MORE: U.S. pair wins debut of Paralympic women’s triathlon races