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Do anything you want in sports, but don’t hold hands

Georgia Taylor-Brown, left, and Jessica Learmonth join hands as they run toward the finish line.
British triathletes Georgia Taylor-Brown, left, and Jessica Learmonth join hands as they near the finish line in a test event in Tokyo.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Triathlon is a sport that tests the ultimate in human endurance. You swim until your lips are chapped, ride a bike until your lower back is thrashed, run until your legs are on fire. But there’s one thing you should never, ever do: hold hands.

British triathletes Jessica Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown were disqualified Thursday for holding hands to cross the finish line together in a test event for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, who finished third behind the pair, was elevated to first in the race that also doubled as an Olympic qualifier. Learmonth and Taylor-Brown will have to wait until May to find out whether they will be chosen for their Olympic team.

International Triathlon Union officials said Learmonth and Taylor-Brown were in breach of rules that state athletes must not “finish in a contrived tie situation where no effort to separate the finish times has been made.”

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Duffy was officially awarded the win with a time of 1:40:19. Italy’s Alice Betto was second and Britain’s Vicky Holland completed the podium.

However, British triathlon’s national performance director, Mike Cavendish, praised the performances.

“It’s obviously disappointing to have Jess and Georgia disqualified,” Cavendish told the British newspaper the Guardian, “but it’s a testament to the depth of our female squad that we still have another athlete on the podium,” he added.

Silly International Triathlon Union. Don’t they know the old sports adage “The tie goes to the runner”?

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Show them the money

A prosecutor wants to know why Harvey Updyke, the Alabama football fan who pleaded guilty to poisoning landmark oak trees at Auburn in 2013, isn’t making court-ordered restitution payments.

Updyke served more than 70 days in jail in 2013 and was ordered to pay about $800,000 in restitution after admitting to poisoning trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, where Tiger fans traditionally gather to celebrate wins . Lee County Dist. Atty. Brandon Hughes told WRBL-TV that Updyke is being ordered to appear in court Oct. 30 to explain why he has paid less than $5,000 so far.

Updyke, a 70-year-old former Texas state trooper who lives in Louisiana, posted a Facebook video recently saying his monthly rent was going up by almost $200.

Your favorite sports moment

What is your favorite all-time L.A. sports moment? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com and tell me what it is and why and it could appear in a future Morning Briefing.

Today’s moment comes from Peter Romero:

“It was a Chicago Cubs-Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game, May 14, 1978. Dave Kingman of the Cubs hit three homers and the Dodgers lost in 15 innings. I had taken a neighborhood friend and his little 9-year-old brother. Before the game started a Dodger player threw a baseball over the dugout, and my friend, Charley, got the ball among a group of 10 or so youngsters. In a last-second decision, after the game we waited out by where the Dodgers parked, and saw Tommy Lasorda enter his vehicle and start to drive away. I put my hand on his windshield and he stopped. Rolling down his window, he asked how he could help, we asked him if he would sign the ball, he did, and drove away. He did all of this in an incredibly kind way.

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“The real shock here is how I later learned he had gone on one of his most raucous rants to a journalist who had asked him what he thought of Kingman’s performance, a recording of which is available in many places on the internet. In my heart this turned out to be one of the great moments. What a man, he should have driven right past me, but he didn’t. Sometimes life lessons aren’t always between the lines.”


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