Images of an exhausted Jonny Brownlee being helped over the Cozumel finish line by his brother Alistair made headlines worldwide last September.
But now, Jonny is determined to hog the headlines for all the right reasons in 2017 as he targets world success and podium finishes.
The Rio Olympic 2016 silver medallist was just metres away from being crowned World Champion for a second time when he began to collapse in Mexico, before his double Olympic champion sibling scooped him up and dragged him over the line.
Both will be back in action when the World Triathlon Series comes to their hometown of Leeds in June – a race Jonny is confident he can make his own with the help of the Yorkshire crowd.
And with Alistair planning time out from the Olympic distance to focus on Ironman competitions over the coming years, Jonny insists the time is right for him to finally emerge from his brother’s shadow.
“This year, the aim is very much to become world champion,” said the 26-year-old, who last won the title in 2012.
“That obviously didn’t happen for me last year, I was very close, just 100 metres away from being world champion, so if I can get it right this year, it would be absolutely amazing.
“The leg in Leeds is very important from that perspective, competing in front of the home crowd who will spur me on – they’ll play an important part in me becoming world champion.
“Last year, it was absolutely incredible race to compete in front of 90,000 people. I actually think it was the best triathlon I’ve ever done.
“I’m an incredibly proud triathlete, an incredibly proud sportsman, and an incredibly proud Yorkshireman, so have all of those things come into one makes it a great day for me.”
The Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds welcomes a new and improved route this year, with more than 5,000 amateur triathletes expected to pound the city’s streets on June 10, before the elites compete the following day.
In an innovative move, British Triathlon has brought the organisation of this year’s event in-house to ensure a world-class experience for all involved, and Alistair, 28, is confident this will be the key to its success.
“The new changes are very exciting, but also really important,” he said. “Last year was the first year of doing the event in Leeds.
“The one transition in Roundhay Park is going to make things a lot easier, and people will still have the experience of running into the city centre on the same route as the elites.
“This year, it’s completely organised by British Triathlon which I think is really important. I’ve got every faith that a great team has been put together to iron out all the creases and I truly believe they are going to put on a world-class event.”
And while Alistair’s attention may have switched to a new challenge, he still refuses to make life easy for his little brother.
“I’ll always be annoyed if Jonny pips me to the post,” he said. “I’m very, very competitive so I’ll always do my best to win.”
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