Olympic competition can be ruthless, but in the semifinals of the men’s cross-country skiing sprint, a touching act of sportsmanship occurred.
It might look like just one guy giving another guy a ski, but it’s so much more.
What you’re looking at is a Canadian coach stepping out to help a Russian athlete in his moment of need.
Russian skier Anton Gafarov fell during the event Tuesday, breaking his ski. Shortly after he got back up, he was tripped by the ski and fell again. It looked like the race at the apline ski resort Rosa Khutor near Sochi was completely over for him.
That is until Canadian ski coach Justin Wadsworth came to the rescue.
According to The Toronto Star, Wadsworth was at the event even though none of his team had made the semifinals.
Seeing Gafarov struggling to make it the last couple hundred meters on one ski with a piece of the broken equipment wrapping around his leg, Wadsworth ran to him carrying a spare. The newspaper reported that the two spoke no words. Gafarov only nodded.
“It was like watching an animal stuck in a trap,” Wadsworth told the Star. “You can’t just sit there and do nothing about it.”
The skier finished three minutes behind everyone else, but as Wadsworth put it, he was able to do it with dignity.
“This is what Olympic sport is about. It’s completing, finishing,” a sportscaster said on NBC’s broadcast as Gafarov got back up to finish.
“If you don’t get a lump in throat thinking about what Justin Wadsworth did for a man he doesn’t know to speak to, but recognizes as a friend in sport, then you should head to the ER,” Toronto Star columnist Cathal Kelly wrote. “You need a heart transplant.”
You can watch the footage of the event on NBC’s website.
(H/T: Business Insider)