Canadian cross-country skiing head coach Justin Wadsworth is an Olympic gold medalist in sportsmanship after helping Russian skier Anton Gafarov who was struggling to complete the men’s sprint free semi-finals race after breaking one of his skis.
Video courtesy of CBC Olympics
The Russian cross-country skier was an early medal favourite but crashed and fell at least three times after one of his skis broke. He skied very slowly as he approached the grandstands, and it was at then that Wadsworth rushed up onto the course with one of his spare skis he had for Canadian athlete Alex Harvey who did not qualify for the race.
“I just went to watch. The Russian fell on the big downhill before the finish area and broke a ski. I was surprised no one else on the course gave him anything,” said Wadsowrth during an interview with the Globe and Mail.
“I went over and gave him one of Alex’s spare skis. It was about giving Gafarov some dignity so he didn’t have to walk to the finish area.”
Gastov was able to continue the race with the Canadian ski. Although it took him twice as long to cross the finish line as other competitors, the Russian crowd cheered loudly for his performance.
They also cheered loudly for Wadsworth as he approached the skier with the replacement ski. He represented the United States at three Winter Olympics before retiring and becoming the head coach of the Canadian cross country ski team.
For the Canadian cross-country team, it is not only the right thing to do but it is also a matter of building good karma. During the Torino 2006 Winter Olympics, Canadian cross-country skier Sara Renner broke one of her ski poles in the team sprint final.
Watching from the sidelines, Norwegian coach Bjornar Hakensmoen ran up to Renner to give her a spare pole which allowed the Canadian athlete to not only finish the race but win a silver medal with fellow teammate Beckie Scott.
Featured Image: MrHExpereince via Twitter