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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:24 am 
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https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-st ... cial-media

Disqualifying These Triathletes for Finishing Hand-in-Hand Goes Against the Spirit of the Olympics
The punishment for Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jessica Learmonth didn’t fit the crime.

By JODIE CUNNAMA
AUG 29, 2019
ITU Olympic Qualification - Tokyo 2020 Test Event
THE ASAHI SHIMBUNGETTY IMAGES
The morning after the 2019 World Triathlon Olympic Qualification Event in Tokyo, I check Twitter to learn the results—at 35 weeks pregnant, staying up until 1 a.m. to watch live wasn’t an option. The first photo I see shows British triathletes Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jessica Learmonth on the finish line, running to glory, hands held high.

As a professional triathlete who competed for Great Britain at the Athens Games, my mood soars at the image. Their first and second place wins—when backed up with podiums at the World Triathlon Series in Yokohama next year—mean they have pretty much secured their spots for the Tokyo Games. (Olympic qualifying is rarely simple and varies by country, but for the British Triathlon Federation, podiums in hot, technical courses like Tokyo and Yokohama are paramount in qualification for the 2020 Olympic team.)

“Flora [Duffy] won!” my husband, also a professional triathlete, declares.

“What? That’s not what I read.” I wonder if I’d seen an old photo. I go to check, but can’t find the shot at all. The photo has gone.

Instead I find a post from the International Triathlon Union (ITU) account congratulating Duffy on her amazing comeback. Alice Betto and Brit Vicky Holland fill out the podium. There is no mention of Learmonth or Taylor-Brown.

“Hang on.” I’m confused. “Did they skip the course? Not serve penalties? Fail a drug test?”

“They crossed the line together,” my husband says.

“Yes?”

“It’s against the rules.”

“Why?”

“I have no idea.”

“NO SPORT CAN CLAIM TO HAVE A RULE BOOK THAT COVERS ALL POSSIBLE SCENARIOS OR SITUATIONS.”

According to the ITU, in crossing the line together, Taylor-Brown and Learmonth violated ITU Rule 2.11.f, which states: “Athletes who finish in a contrived tie situation, where no effort to separate their finish times has been made will be DSQ.”

Many people argue all professional athletes should know this rule, but in all honesty, neither myself nor my husband had heard of it before this event (the ITU racing rule book is a 200-page document that changes annually). Ignorance is admittedly not a good defense for violation. But for the officials in Tokyo, it seems, nor is collective achievement, extraordinary performance, or rare camaraderie in an individual sport.

Rules exist to provide fair and equal competition, and they should not to be taken lightly or sporadically. Rules should, however, be sometimes open to interpretation. No sport can claim to have a rule book that covers all possible scenarios or situations. In some cases—and I’d argue this is one of them—human judgement should be called upon to evaluate the circumstances and consequences of a violation.


I strongly believe that Taylor-Brown and Learmouth acted from unadulterated, exuberant instinct. On an Instagram post, Taylor-Brown apologized for any upset she and Learmonth caused, writing, “We are simple humans, enjoying what we do & who we do it with.”


There was no “contrived tie;” no intention to insult the event, the sport, or the other competitors. Taylor-Brown and Learmouth’s united finish was an isolated, spontaneous tribute to two personal journeys in sport. What’s more, their elation and joy had no effect on any other athlete: Duffy and the rest of the pack finished well behind them.

I would urge officials to ask whether the punishment fits the crime. To ask themselves: Does this disqualification feel just? What are the consequences of such an action within the sport? Yes, rules are rules, but athletes are athletes, and they compete in your sport—there should be a duty to look after them. Olympic selection comes around just once every four years. Many athletes only have one opportunity at the Games in their career. Did the punishment fit the crime here? In my opinion, it did not.

Other elite triathletes seem to agree. South African Richard Murray and New Zealand’s Cam Brown tweeted their distaste immediately on social media. More subtly, Non Stanford and Flora Duffy referred to “a silly technicality” and “an unfortunate and strange twist” that saw them moved up.


Richard Murray
@RD_murray
Shorten run ... DSQ athletes for winning and swim and bike the same . Why would one not make it a sprint distance then ? I find the DSQ way over the top 🤨 @worldtriathlon https://twitter.com/triathlonlive/statu ... 4346383361

TriathlonLIVE

@triathlonlive
We are just 30mins away from the start of the Elite women’s Tokyo Test Event!

Heat indicators show high temperatures are predicted so officials have shortened the run to 5km for athletes’ safety.

Ice vests on, final preps GO#Tokyo2020 #TestEvent

📺 http://TriathlonLIVE.tv

View image on Twitter
203
3:16 AM - Aug 15, 2019 · Koto-ku, Tokyo
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Cameron Brown
@ChuckiBrown
Wow drama @worldtriathlon shorten the run because it’s to hot! Guess what that’s Tokyo in summer! Then they DQ @georgiatb and @Jess_Learmonth for holding hands across the line for 1st place but the brownlees were able to carry one another for 300m and push his brother to finish?

According to the Olympic charter, “Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”


Taylor-Brown and Learmouth’s joined finish feels like the embodiment of this philosophy. Their camaraderie transcended a racer’s biggest vice—winning—and their spontaneous teamwork and support reassured me that working together can produce results.

Top-level sport doesn’t always have to be predatory. Becoming a champion is a great thing, but coupling achievement with genuine human compassion transcends sports parameters to be entertaining and inspiring.

Triathlete Jodie Cunnama (@jodiecunnama) is an Olympian, an Ironman Champion, and a three-time World Champion.


I'm inclined to agree it was a heat of the moment thing, not a conspiracy thing. A warning would be enough.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:42 am 
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When I first read the headline I thought - that's harsh.

But I see why they have it. If they don't enforce it here then another two folk can do the same and ask why are they getting punished if you have shown leniency before. Just tough luck I am afraid.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:46 am 
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LandOTurk wrote:
When I first read the headline I thought - that's harsh.

But I see why they have it. If they don't enforce it here then another two folk can do the same and ask why are they getting punished if you have shown leniency before. Just tough luck I am afraid.


The assumption is that if you don't enforce it others will do the same. I doubt that. It also shouldn't be about the enforcement when it was a spontaneous action as in this case? IMO there is no reason to assume conspiracy here.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:39 am 
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Them's the rules - if the other team hit more boundaries then that's all fair.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:47 am 
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Why were the Brownlees not DQ’d then when they crossed the line together? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this a number of times in triathlon. Odd


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:49 am 
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They crossed the line. People trusted them and they died. They gotta go down.

Oh wait, that was Bodhi in Point Break. Never mind.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:57 am 
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HKCJ wrote:
Why were the Brownlees not DQ’d then when they crossed the line together? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this a number of times in triathlon. Odd



Yup. I'm guessing recent rule change but it seems overly officious.

Love that word, officious. It demands to be pronounced with a hiss.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:28 am 
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HKCJ wrote:
Why were the Brownlees not DQ’d then when they crossed the line together? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this a number of times in triathlon. Odd


They didn’t finish together; Alistair Brownlee pushed his brother over the line first before crossing himself. Having said that, I think the rules have now been changed to stop this happening again, so if the Brownlees did it now, they would both be DQ’d.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:34 am 
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Hm ok. Was always confused why they weren’t disqualified anyway as certainly in marathons you must cross the line under your own steam. It’s a rubbish rule IMO.. imagine disqualifying Beardsley and Simonsen in the iconic moment they crossed the first London marathon finish line together holding hands in 1981?!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:49 am 
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Silly rule that’s against the spirit of the sport. If the ITU want to stop competitors helping each other and contriving results they should get rid of drafting on the bike.

That said, professional athletes should know the rules.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:44 am 
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Centre Court, final Sunday. After 5 epic hours, Djokovic and Federer are locked together at 12 all in the final set. They agree to shake hands and share first place.

Lord's. After 50 overs each, England and New Zealand decide not to comply with the tournament rules and compete in a super over, preferring instead to have a drawn final. Both teams walk off to a chorus of puzzlement.

Etc....

I feel sympathy for the athletes, but sport is supposed to be about competition and giving everything to do your best.

It also poses some difficult issues re gambling if athletes can decide on a whim not to do their best.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:47 am 
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LandOTurk wrote:
When I first read the headline I thought - that's harsh.

But I see why they have it. If they don't enforce it here then another two folk can do the same and ask why are they getting punished if you have shown leniency before. Just tough luck I am afraid.

When I first the read the headline I thought 'Is 'to harsh' a verb?, then I realised that it was a typo.


Last edited by Gwenno on Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:49 am 
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Gwenno wrote:
LandOTurk wrote:
When I first read the headline I thought - that's harsh.

But I see why they have it. If they don't enforce it here then another two folk can do the same and ask why are they getting punished if you have shown leniency before. Just tough luck I am afraid.

When I first the readline I thought 'Is 'to harsh' a verb?, then I realised that it was a typo.


Harsh can be a verb, surely?

As in a hippy saying "You're harshing my vibe, man".


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:52 am 
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Jay Cee Gee wrote:
Gwenno wrote:
LandOTurk wrote:
When I first read the headline I thought - that's harsh.

But I see why they have it. If they don't enforce it here then another two folk can do the same and ask why are they getting punished if you have shown leniency before. Just tough luck I am afraid.

When I first the readline I thought 'Is 'to harsh' a verb?, then I realised that it was a typo.


Harsh can be a verb, surely?

As in a hippy saying "You're harshing my vibe, man".


It is for Shaun Connery, "Harsh not what your country..."


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:52 am 
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1) If that’s the rule that’s the rule.

2) why do we need to know the writer was 35 weeks pregnant?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:53 am 
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Enzedder wrote:
Them's the rules - if the other team hit more boundaries then that's all fair.

You salty bastard. :lol:


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