This year’s Winter Olympic athletes have shed light on what it means to compete with fairness, good sportsmanship, and integrity.
Athletes train day and night for years to compete in the Olympics. They are the elite when it comes to competing in their particular sporting event. They train to win, but winning is not everything, and many athletes and coaches have recognized that in this year’s games by following the words of the Olympic Creed.
The Olympic Creed states, “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
Shaun White came into this year’s Winter Olympics in hopes of bringing back a third gold medal for Team USA in the men’s halfpipe, but his plans didn’t turn out like he hoped for. Shaun White fell short and came in fourth place, which didn’t earn him any medals.
Right after the announcement that Sean White was beat out by three other competitors, he went and gave a big hug and congratulated the gold medalist, Iouri Podladchikov of Switzerland. Shaun White understood that the other athletes outperformed him and instead of getting upset, he only applauded the other competitors for their outstanding performance.
“That is what the entire Olympic experience is about, to show sportsmanship. It’s not just about winning, but instead about the Olympic Spirit,” said Bob Trythall, a professor at Snow College.
During the cross-country semifinal, Anton Gafarov, a Russian cross-country skier, took a hard fall around a tricky turn. The fall resulted in a damaged ski. Gafarov tried to continue the race even though he was two minutes behind all the other competitors. Gafarov’s ski eventually split into two pieces, leaving him with only one ski to ride on.
Justin Wadsworth, a Canadian cross-country coach, stepped out on the track with an extra ski that was intended for his own racer and instead gave it to the Russian skier. This allowed Gafarov to finish the race, and when he crossed the finish line he was met with loud cheers from the Russian crowd.
Examples like these show that the Olympic events are not just about being placed on the podium or breaking world records, but instead about true sportsmanship. Players from all around the globe can compete and all be proud that they were able to take part in one of the most elite sporting events in the world.
This year’s Winter Olympics will come to an end this coming Sunday, and will be followed by the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.