When it comes to triathlons, the Brownlee brothers are no strangers to winning — Alistair and Jonathan took gold and silver, respectively, at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
But even for the most decorated athletes in the world, sometimes winning takes a back seat.
At the World Triathlon Series in Cozumel, Mexico on Sunday, Jonathan was in first place about 1,000 meters from the finish line — but something was wrong.
Jonathan began to stumble as his eyes rolled around in his head. It was clear that he was suffering from extreme exhaustion.
That’s when his brother, Alistair, came around the final turn with a chance to overtake his brother for first place and possibly win the race. Alistair saw his brother receiving attention and made the decision to forget about first place — he was going to help his brother finish.
South Africa’s Henri Schoeman passed both of them and finished first. As the brothers crossed the finish line, Alistair made sure to bump Jonathan just ahead of him to make sure he took second place.
“If it happened to anyone, I would have helped him across the line,” Alistair said after the race. “It’s an awful position to be in. If he had conked out [one kilometer] from the finish line and there isn’t a medical support, it’s a dangerous position to be in. … It’s the right thing to do.”
According to the World Triathlon Series website, the Spanish Triathlon Federation attempted to disqualify Jonathan for receiving help from his brother. However, the competition jury unanimously ruled against disqualification, pointing to a rule that states athletes are allowed receive help from another athlete, technical official or race official.
While receiving treatment, Jonathan expressed his heartfelt gratitude toward his brother.
“Thanks [Alistair], your loyalty is incredible,” Jonathan tweeted.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / WATCH: Triathlete gives up first place to help his struggling brother finish