Wednesday, August 27, 2008

True Spirit of the Olympics

Whatever the critics say about China, I say that they did a bang up job of the Olympics and showed their colors to the world. They managed to beat the US of A with the highest number of gold medals, 51 ranking 2nd in the total medal count with 100. Sadly we didn’t get a medal, but hey, there’s always the next one. I’m sure that there’s bound to be a Sri Lankan champion in the future generations he he

I’m not what you call the sporty type, but I am a fan of the Olympics, coz it shows what the world can be if humans can just do away with petty things like hate, greed, etc.

This month’s Readers Digest carried a nice article about the true spirit of sportsmanship, so thought I’d put some excerpts of it here.

Lucien Duquesne – Amsterdam 1928
A Finnish long distance runner by the name of Paavo Nurmi carried a stopwatch to pace himself and during a qualifying race of the 3000m steeplechase, he fell down and lost his watch. Frenchman Lucien Duquesne stopped and helped Nurmi on his feet and even helped to locate his stopwatch. Nurmi ran the rest of the race along Lucien and even offered the finish line, but Lucien has declined.

Ralph Hill – Los Angeles 1932
In the finals of the 5000m, Ralph Hill of the USA came from the last place to challenge the reigning champion Lauri Lehtinen of Finland and twice tried to pass the Fin, but was blocked. Lehtinan won by centimeters. Even though Hill could have made a formal protest for being blocked, he chose not to, saying that he did not believe that the Fin would purposely cheat to win.

Shunzo Kido – Los Angeles 1932
This Japanese equestrian team member was leading the steeplechase event, when he noticed that his horse was fatigued, and rather than risk injuring the animal, he dropped out of the race.

Anton Josipovic – Los Angeles 1984
Josipovic of Yugoslavia won the boxing gold by a technicality because Evander Holyfield was disqualified after winning semi finals. During the medal ceremony Josipovic invited Holyfield onto the top of the platform to share the glory.

Larry Lemieux – Seoul 1988
During the one man sailing completion, Lemieux of Canada was in second place when he spotted Joseph Chan of Singapore who was competing in another race get into trouble after capsizing his boat. Lemieux came to Chan’s rescue, sacrificing his own medal chance, for which he was awarded the Pierre de Cobertin Medal for sportsmanship.

Bjornar Haakensnoen – Turin 2006 (Winter Olympics)
In the cross country team ski race, Canadian Sara Renner’s left ski pole broke in half, but she pushed forward. Suddenly a man came forward from the sidelines and handed Renner a new ski pole, ultimately giving Canada the Silver. Renner’s helping hand was given by Bjornar Haakensnoen, the coach of the Norwegian team, which came in fourth.

Are these just in the past or would we such actions these days, with all the doping scandals and all. Already the US is trying hard to prove that the Gold medal wining gymnasts from China are under aged and to disqualify them.

I think Haakensnoen comment says it all about what the true spirit of Olympics is all about.

“The Olympic spirit is the way we try to follow. If you win, but don’t help somebody when you should have, what win is that”

Canadians hail Norwegian coach's sportsmanship


Foxhound said...

I like that... it is the true spirit of the Olympics.

But putting all the naiveté aside, the reality is a much darker picture sadly. Intense competition tends to spoil everything...
At the end of the day, most people only remember the winners.

I totally believe in all that positive stuff, but it seems most people don't.

nifraz said...

I totally agree on you.. Its just only the winners who get highlighted at the game.. But there are hundreds of athletes who achieve a lot under minor facilities but outshine.. yes china grabbed 1 America 2 and Russia 3 but……..What ever said and done.. China has the highest population.. America is the most powerful country in the world… Russia is also a powerful country.. but don’t forget… look at the performance of the Jamaicans.. now that’s what Olympics is all about… not the power of nations but humans