Theresa May hails spirit of Leeds’s own Brownlee brothers

Leeds's own Alistair Brownlee (left) helps his brother Jonny to get to the finish line.
Leeds's own Alistair Brownlee (left) helps his brother Jonny to get to the finish line.
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Theresa May has heaped praise on Leeds’s own triathletes the Brownlee brothers - saying their selfless bond revealed there is “more to life than individualism and self-interest”.

Jonny Brownlee was on course to win the world title last month when he was hit by heat exhaustion, which left him weaving along the track.

His brother and fellow competitor Alistair came to his aid, helping him limp the final stretch of the race and make it over the finishing line.

The Prime Minister used her major speech to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham to single out the brothers as an inspiring example which shows “that we succeed or fail together”.

Mrs May said the scene in Cozumel in Mexico was the one sporting moment this summer that stood out for her, eclipsing even Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic triumphs.

She told activists: “There, our celebrated triathlon champion Jonny Brownlee was heading for glory, the finishing line in sight, when he faltered. Stopped. And was falling exhausted to the ground.

“And just behind him, his brother Alistair - a tough competitor who typically yields to no-one - had the chance to run on and steal the prize.

“But seeing his brother’s struggle, he didn’t pass on by. As other competitors ran past, he stopped. Reached out his hand. And gently carried him home.”

Mrs May said that moment “revealed an essential truth”.

“That we succeed or fail together. We achieve together or fall short together,” she said.

“And when one among us falters, our most basic human instinct is to put our own self-interest aside, to reach out our hand and help them over the line.

“That’s why the central tenet of my belief is that there is more to life than individualism and self-interest.”

Rachel Reeves.

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