Brownlee brothers warned: We'll throw you out if you try to stage a dead-heat
21:30 GMT, 4 August 2012
21:30 GMT, 4 August 2012
Britain's star triathletes – brothers
Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee – have been warned by their world
governing body that they will be instantly disqualified from the biggest
race of their lives if they attempt to cross the line together.
This draconian message, aimed to
prevent what many observers might see as a heart-warming moment of
fraternal solidarity, is being delivered to prevent a second 'fixing'
scandal at the London Games after they made headlines for all the wrong
reasons last week when eight badminton players were sent home in
disgrace for deliberately trying to lose.
World No 1 Alistair, 24, and world No
2 Jonathan, 22, are hot favourites to dominate the London 2012 men's
triathlon in Hyde Park on Tuesday.
Scroll down for more
On the right track: Brothers Jonathan (right) and Alistair Brownlee are favourites for the triathlon
Alistair is the reigning world
champion and has been the dominant force in his sport for several years
while Jonathan sealed world silver behind his older brother last
September in Beijing.
More than once in the past, the
Yorkshire siblings have finished a gruelling triathlon, which involves a
1.5km swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run, and then crossed the line at
the same time.
More from Nick Harris…
Nick Harris: Why Austerity London was no match for Paris in 1948
Nick Harris: Oil giant behind Sunderland's 20m shirt deal with 'charity'
Nick Harris: Government fast-tracking new Olympic clampdown amid fears of match-fixing
Nick Harris: Lineker and Chiles top the BT Premier hit-list
Nick Harris: So, what ARE we getting for that 81m, Danny
Nick Harris: Murray pockets a million and it's just for turning up
Nick Harris: Will a slumdog millionaire be asked to light the flame
Nick Harris: London pulls a fast one over Olympic congestion
VIEW FULL ARCHIVE
Most recently, they crossed the line together at the Blenheim triathlon in June as they celebrated Alistair's first competitive race following a three-month break due to an achilles tendon injury.
And Jonathan has spoken of a dream scenario where they might both hit their peak at the Olympics to dominate the event for Britain.
'To win a joint gold medal with my brother, that's the dream,' he has said. 'To cross the line together.'
But the International Triathlon Union, which rules the sport, says the Brownlees must not try to share victory and if they do, they will both forfeit their races.
Paula Kim, spokeswoman for the ITU, said: 'Intentionally trying or agreeing to cross the line together, under ITU rules, brings a mandatory penalty of automatic disqualification.'
Kim says those rules apply to all events within the auspices of the ITU.
The Blenheim event is not an ITU event, although another event where they almost crossed the line together – in Madrid last year – is.
'On that occasion Alistair was ahead and waited for Jonathan at the line, but Alistair did cross the line first, albeit not by very much at all,' said Kim. 'Given what has happened in the badminton at the Olympics, we need to be clear about the rules, that there is no room for suggestion that the race has been manipulated in any way at all.'
The badminton scandal involved four pairs in the women's doubles, two from South Korea, one from Indonesia and one from China.
They each tried to lose in order to manipulate the draw after the group stage, and were kicked out for 'not using one's best efforts to win a match' and 'conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport'.
If the Brownlees are genuinely flat out against each at the line – as Nicola Spirig and Lisa Norden were in a thrilling finish to the women's race yesterday – there will be no problem.
But any sentimental waiting will be punished.
Taylor connection goes down well in India
The exploits of Stuart Pearce's men's football team have been followed with closer interest than might be expected in India – because one of his GB players, Swansea right-back Neil Taylor, is half-Indian.
The Wales international, whose mother, Shibani, is from Mumbai, tells me he has already been interviewed by the Times of India and that interest from the sub-continent in his career is growing.
Big hit: Neil Taylor in action against Senegal
Taylor has also been impressed with his Games experience.
'Being at the opening ceremony was amazing,' he said.
'I saw LeBron James and Novak Djokovic during our three-day stay in the village, and mixing with other athletes, from massive weightlifters to tiny Chinese gymnasts, has been brilliant. And considering what a short time we've been together as a team, we've gelled amazingly.'
Greece is the word on Merseyside
If Spyros Gianniotis wins the gold medal in the men's 10km open water swimming for Greece on Friday, as he is favourite to do, look out for a party of Scousers – with an 82-year-old cheerleader called Olive – who will be going absolutely bananas in celebration.
Gianniotis was born in Liverpool, spent the first few years of his life there, and his grandmother, Olive Sweeney, who lives a stone's throw from Anfield at the edge of Stanley Park, is anticipating one of the most emotional occasions of her life, despite having to battle to be there.
'I'm 82 and had a hip replacement a couple of months ago, but a whole group of us are coming down by minibus even though we don't have grandstand tickets,' she told me. 'I'll probably collapse if he wins, I'll be that excited.
Mersey man: Greece's Spyros Gianniotis has roots in Liverpool
'He's loved swimming forever. When he was three, he'd jump off a pedalo while on holiday, disappear under the water then pop up with an octopus he'd caught!'
His mother, Brenda, is Olive's daughter.
'Spyros looks a lot more like his mum than his dad, who is Greek,' said Olive. 'So I'm claiming him for Britain.'