2 Triathletes DQ'd After Finishing Tokyo Olympics Test Event While Holding Hands

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2019

Britain's Georgia Taylor-Brown, left, and Jessica Learmonth hold hands as they cross the finish line during a women's triathlon test event at Odaiba Marine Park, a venue for marathon swimming and triathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Bermuda's Flora Duffy crossed the finish line third at a triathlon test event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Thursday, but she was awarded the victory after a double disqualification.

According to Reuters (h/t ESPN.com), British triathletes Jessica Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown were each disqualified for crossing the finish line at the same time purposefully. The athletes held hands as they completed the event. 

International Triathlon Union officials cited a rule stating competitors cannot "finish in a contrived tie situation where no effort to separate the finish times has been made" while making their decision.

The BBC noted Learmonth was initially ruled the victor by photo finish before the disqualifications were instituted.

As a result, Italy's Alice Betto and Britain's Vicky Holland finished in second and third, respectively, in the competition that was shortened because of concerns about extreme heat. The running portion of the race was cut in half, although the swimming and biking portions remained the same.

"I really feel for Jess and Georgia because they raced exceptionally well today, and I feel like they absolutely smashed it and deserved the first and second finish," Holland said, per the BBC.