Canadian coach comes to Russian skier's rescue after crash


The winner of the day’s sportsmanship medal goes to this Canadian coach for coming to the rescue of a cross-country skier during competition.

Russia’s Anton Gafarov suffered a particularly nasty crash on a downhill turn during a men’s cross-country sprint semifinal run that rendered his left ski to tatters.

Gafarov hobbled along for a while, ski in shreds.

Until Canadian coach Justin Wadsworth came by with another ski…


Cross-country seems to bring out the best in people. :smiley: From the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Norwegian coach Bjørnar Håkensmoen gave Sara Renner a ski pole after hers was broken when a competitor stepped on it during the cross-country team sprint at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Norway’s athlete ended up fourth, implying that this selfless act of sportsmanship may well have cost the Norwegian team a medal.[1] Renner gave Håkensmoen a bottle of wine as a thank you, while other Canadians responded with phone calls and letters to the Norwegian Embassy. Canadian businessman Michael Page donated 8,000 cans of Maple Syrup to the Norwegian Olympic Committee to show his gratitude.[2][dead link] The incident was immortalized in a 2010 Winter Olympics television commercial.[3]


Stories like this renew my hope that sportsmanship in sports has not been totally killed by competition and the lust for victory at any cost.


Canadians in general regard Russia as enemy numero uno when it comes to winter sports, and we have done so ever since the 1972 hockey series between Canada and the USSR.

That being said, I am confident that almost any Canadian would rush to the aid of a Russian athlete and give him a ski or a skate or a hockey stick if his equipment malfunctioned.

It is not enough just to win against your opponents in sports. Any victory where you are not beating your opponent when they are at their best is a hollow victory.

I don’t think that there were any Canadians actually involved in that race, but to me it would be weird not to help that Russian finish the race if you have the opportunity to do so.

My real admiration is as much for the Russian as anybody else. He was bound and determined to finish that race even on a broken ski, if that is what he had to do. There is a real beauty in such passion that I is very uplifting for the rest of us.


In the name of full disclosure it should be pointed out that, while he is coaching the Canadian team and is married to a Canadian, Justin Wadsworth is American. :slight_smile:


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