I woke up today to see the television news awash with the Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong. In the last few weeks I have seen a number of examples of professional footballers “diving” in order to win a penalty and win an unfair advantage for their team.
I was so pleased to see the following item sent from my cousin Bonny on Facebook:
Proud to be part of THIS human race!
Is winning all that counts? Are you absolutely sure about that?”Very little has been said about this…..On December 2, Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai – bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics
. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner – the certain winner of the race – mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai’s mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.
Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Basque runner of 24 years who is considered an athlete with a big future (champion of Spain of 5,000 meters in promise category two years ago) said after the test:
“But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn’t have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well.”
He said at the beginning: unfortunately, very little has been said of the gesture. And it’s a shame. In my opinion, it would be nice to explain to children, so they do not think that sport is only what they see on TV: violent kicks in abundance, posh statements, fingers in the eyes of the enemy”.
I did a search on the subject of sportsmanship and found the above recent TedX talk by P. R. Smith. I loved it.There were great stories about the lengths that some sportsmen had gone to show sportsmanship. It was interesting to see how many children were fascinated by these stories and just how important it was, in these days where we see the negative things that make sport a bad role model for them.
So we need sportsmanship and to get back to the basis of what sport should be about: fitness, friendship and the opportunity for everyone of every race, creed and sexual orientation to participate together without cheating, violence and hatred.