Remember kids: cross the finish line, and then celebrate.
French triathlon champion Jeremy Jurkiewicz nearly learned that lesson the hard way at the half-Ironman 70.3 Brazil race in Brasilia in late August, when his showboating nearly cost him his title.
After a grueling 70.3 miles of swimming, biking, and running, Jurkiewicz thought he had a win in the bag, and slowed down just feet from the finish line. He then started joking with fans, reaching out for high-fives, and simulating an airplane with his arms. Little did he know that his primary competitor, Brazilian Igor Amorelli, had rounded the corner in a dead sprint. At the last moment, Jurkiewicz realizes Amorelli is closing in and pushes toward the finish line. The New York Daily News claims Jurkiewicz “jumped back into the race to take the title,” but from video footage, it appears Amorelli lets his gloating competitor win in an act of competitive grace.
In the end, Jurkiewicz took the half-Ironman title by 0.3 seconds. Jurkiewicz’s actions were foolish, but in his defense, showboating at the end of a triathlon is common practice in that sport, as most triathletes focus more on place on less on time. However, most triathletes make pretty damn sure they’re safe from being pipped at the line before they start showboating.
Did Amorelli do the right thing by letting the Frenchman win?