Dirty Harry?

For those of you that haven’t heard, Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee finished first and second in the European Triathlon Championships last weekend. This week however their performances were overshadowed by accusations of cheating by Harry Wiltshire, a fellow GB team member, by Javier Gomez and other elite athletes such as Laurent Vidal and Stuart Hayes. This raises a number of questions.

  • Were Harry Wiltshire’s tactics ‘just part of the sport’ or was he breaking the rules?
  • If he was cheating and deliberately trying to slow Javier Gomez down was he acting alone or were these team tactics?
  • If these were team tactics then who gave the instructions to use such methods in a race?

Check out the video here and make up your own mind. Unfortunately there is not a video of the whole swim but just a few edited clips showing a few of the incidents that took place. At 00:12 you will see Javier Gomez enter the frame. Harry Wiltshire comes up beside him at at 00:18 and appears to push him under the water by swimming over the top of him. From 00:23 to 00:44 he appears to force Javier Gomez wide by blocking him from taking a racing line and joining the main pack. At 01:15 he appears to block Javier Gomez as he tries to exit the water. From 01:38 to 02:00 is more video of Harry Wiltshire appearing to block Javier Gomez from earlier in the swim.

From the way I have described the video in the paragragh above you can probably see what I think. Actually, it’s as clear as day! I would be interested to hear what you think. I am a Javier Gomez fan. I think he is a great athlete and a great sportsman in terms of his attitude and the way he races. You can read his own account of the race on his blog if you are interested.

So leave some comments and let me know was it cheating, was this team tactics and was it worthy of disqualification?

See you in the weekend. Tim (LFTC Coach)

6 responses to “Dirty Harry?

  1. Ok Tim, l know you have been dying for my professional opinion on this!
    So after extensive you tube pausing and reading Gomez’s blog it is really quite clear that Wiltshire is in the wrong. I guess the question is why did he do it? Maybe l am slightly naive or like my mum now but the Brownlee brothers seem like nice boys. Unless it was coming from a higher source l can’t imagine why GB’s would need or want to employ this tactic? Maybe Wiltshire was told to keep by Gomez’s side making it difficult for him but with all the adrenaline following took it too far. This tactic is after all used in many sports, athletics, F1, football etc so although everyone is super friendly in Tri’s the stakes are getting higher.

    I guess we will have to wait for British Triathlon Federation to make their statement. I do however think that it justified a DSQ. When you put that against Mark Cavendish gentle nudge in the Tour it is unquestionable.

    The irony of all this is bad press is good press. Hell it was in The Sun! We just need the Brownlee brothers to be involved in some sort of sex scandal with a prostitute and their is no stopping us…


  2. Here is your British Triathlon statement on the disqualification of Harry Wiltshire Minky:

    Harry Wiltshire was disqualified during the elite men’s race at the 2011 ETU European Championships in Pontevedra (25 June 2011).

    British Triathlon has been advised by ITU that he was disqualified under point 3.3.a.(i), Appendix L: 5,6,7 of the ITU competition rules. This relates to blocking of another athlete during the swim and the swim exit.

    British Triathlon is committed to promoting fair play and ethical sporting conduct and following the ITU review of the evidence, will continue to support ITU in maintaining a safe and fair field of play for all athletes.

    Source: http://www.tri247.com/article_8735.html

    See ya. Tim (LFTC Coach)

  3. I thought he was persecuting Gomez. I an mot sure in what capacity this was cheating as he would never beat Gomez in a race where both are on form. I struggle to see this as “team approach either”. Is there some other reason the two might clash? I m thinking mutual girlfriends/ boyfriends, some ongoing dispute, who knows. All seems a bit trivial.

  4. I would like to think it was not team tactics. For a start the Brownlees don’t need these kind of tactics to win a race. I also can’t imagine British Triathlon would condone these tactics either. I think Harry Wiltshire has probably suffered enough bad press over this to never do it again. I imagine he might have lost a few friends amongst the pro ranks too. Silly move really. Trivial? May be in the European Championships when Gomez was not in form anyway but the same thing happening in the Olympics next year would not be trivial. Tim (LFTC Coach)

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