Sochi 2014 more than just a competition
By Courtnie Martin, Sports Reporter
The Sochi 2014 Olympics are well underway and many are enthusiastically supporting and cheering on their country in their competitive pursuits. Thus far, however, the real story of the games has centred around acts that aren’t of a competitive nature.
Canada, to no one’s surprise, has always been a force at the Winter Olympics, and the team is showing it again this time around. As of this writing, Canada sits comfortably inside the top 10 with 13 medals—four of which are gold. Oftentimes it’s easy to get caught up in it all and forget why the Olympics exist, though. Thankfully, a moment in the opening week helped to remind us all.
Anton Gafarov, a Russian skier, lost control on the slopes during the men’s cross-country sprint. His left ski was rendered broken and useless. He tried to carry on, but only succeeded in falling three times. Having to face shame for not finishing the race become a very real possibility for Garafov—but that was when the true spirit of the Olympics shone through. Canadian coach Justin Wadsworth immediately took off down the hills to assist Gafarov, providing him with a spare ski and allowing him to leave with some pride.
“I was on the course with spare skis and poles for Alex [Harvey, a member of the Canadian team who didn’t qualify for the sprint final],” said Wadsworth. “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… It was about giving Gafarov some dignity so he didn’t have to walk to the finish area.”
It was a classy move from a country whose program is overflowing with it. Canada has already gone above and beyond in this category. A good recent example would be when the young Gilmore Junio gave up his spot for senior teammate Denny Morrison after a tragic tumble in December killed Morrison’s opportunity to compete for the Olympics. Morrison wouldn’t waste the opportunity given to him by Junio, either—as he went on to pick up a silver medal in speed skating.
Canada has continued to demonstrate their outstanding morals, values, and respect for the great competitive nature of the Olympics, and the stories recorded thus far deserve a solid salute.