What would you do if you had a chance to beat an athlete who had won an Olympic medal because of a mistake the latter made? Well, I know I am not as good a human being as Spanish runner Ivan Fernandez Anaya. Which is why, he is probably featured here instead of me!

So anyway, here is Ivan in second place at a cross-country race in Navarre, a fair distance behind the leader, Kenyan runner Abel Mutai (a bronze medalist from the 2012 London Olympics held a few months earlier).

Now, Mutai makes the error of thinking he has crossed the finish line and slows down when in fact he is still ten meters short. Ivan Fernandez Anaya catches up to the Kenyan and - wait for it - instead of running past him and winning the race, guides Mutai to keep running, pointing out the actual finish line and stays behind him to ensure the Kenyan wins.

When the race leader Kenyan Abel Mutai mistakenly thought he had finished and won, Ivan Fernandez Anaya caught up with him and guided him to the finish line instead of running past him

His explanation? "He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn't have closed if he hadn't made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn't going to pass him."

Why I want you to remember Ivan Fernandez Anaya

Ivan would not have been cheating had he crossed Mutai to win. There was no real code of honour that would have been broken had he overtaken him. That, to me, makes this even more remarkable. He gave up winning the race and the credit of beating an Olympic medalist just because he believed the Kenyan should not be punished for a genuine error.

That, in my book, is an amazing act of sportsmanship.

When the race leader Kenyan Abel Mutai mistakenly thought he had finished and won, Ivan Fernandez Anaya caught up with him and guided him to the finish line instead of running past him


This is part of my #AtoZChallenge where I will be focusing on Real Life Heroes: Shining Examples of Kindness and Compassion. You can find other real-life heroes here.

27 Comments

shalz75 said…
I love the stories of true sportsmanship and this one is just incredible! This is one time when the guy who came second is remembered more than the one who came first.
Roshan where are you digging these gems from ? I am totally in awe of your blogging stories for this challenge. Thank you for spreading so much goodness!

Theme: Peregrination Chronicles (travel)
I is for innovation or Jugaad which we Indians are very famous for #atozchallenge
Sportsmanship is the best example of compassion we can come across. It's also among the most valuable and practical lessons we can share with our kids. May Ivan's tribe increase and may stories of him and other real heroes you're showcasing increase compassion in the world. We can live in hope.

*I for Impatient: Shailaja/The Moving Quill*
These are not just posts.... but life lessons to be remembered and cherished. Thanks Roshan for such a soul warming theme and gems of posts.
Me Otherwise said…
Oh man who would actually do this? who would actually make a rival athlete win knowinf very well that he could have overtaken? hats off ivan Fernandes
Such a heartwarming story. To put kindness above winning shows a strength of character. WeekendsInMaine
bellybytes said…
Another winner from you Roshan. In this world of dog eat dog, it is indeed rare to see true sportsmanship prevail
Shilpa Garg said…
Wow! That's truly a shining example of sportsmanship. Ivan has truly proved that winning isnt everything. It's values like honesty, compassion, generosity that matters the most.
If faced with a similar situation, I doubt if I would've acted the same way to be honest. Who would? This is amazing. Ivan is so incredible.
Suzy said…
That is true sportsmanship. Unfortunately these days it's a rare occurance. Thanks for sharing. Enjoying your posts.

Suzy at Someday Somewhere - Inaction
Sanch Writes said…
I guess in a way, it wouldn't be a true victory for him, would it? Nice sportsmanship from him! :)

Inverted Refrain - Numb
Mithila Menezes said…
This is indeed a true act of sportsmanship! I had to read this post twice, because I actually couldn't believe that someone would actually give up an Olympics GOLD medal, just to be a humane human being.
The closest I've come to ever doing something like this, is when I'm hunting for a seat in the train, and I notice that someone else is eyeing the same seat I'm moving towards. :P
Interesting post, Indeed he is a true sportsman and set examples for others
Giving up an Olympic medal just to save his colleague is very big thing
Thanks for sharing
Dr Bushra
Do visit mineI for Imbibe Yourself about Antenatal Care during Pregnancy – Part 1
Alana said…
This is the kind of sportsmanship we hope our children will learn. Awesome!
Thats a very specialstory you shared here Dr.Roshan .I loved that you potrayed the spirit of a true sportsperson.This quality is important in life too.
Prateek Mathur said…
This one is a real gem. I had never heard about this case. Kudos to your research.
Sportsmanship is a tricky affair. Would he have served his country and people better by winning the medal, from an emotional perspective? Yes.
Did he serve Sports better by being a gentleman ? Oh yes!
Soumya said…
Oh I can't believe he did that! That's the true spirit of sportsmanship. Such an awesome human being he is.

I still can't believe he did that!
I really, really respect this. I think a lot of it is empathy; I can imagine how bad Mutai would have felt to know he made such a mistake and lost because of it...

The Multicolored Diary: WTF - Weird Things in Folktales
I don't know if I would have shown as much sportsmanship as Ivan. Such a wonderful lesson. He won in spite of not actually winning.

Shubhangi @ The Little Princess
Deepa said…
A great story which teaches us so many things. THese days hardly you see anybody making way for others to win. We can learn a lot from Ivan.
Thanks. I do appreciate the love for the 'digging em up' bit because it did require a lot of detective work :D
Not to mention varying the themes and finding people for every alphabet!
Geetika Gupta said…
This is an exemplary example of true sportsmanship! I doubt I've a story or an instance like this where one person let's the other go ahead while knowing all the while he could have been there!

Cheers
BoisterousBee
Ravish Mani said…
That's a sign of true champion. I'm glad that I landed here. Thanks, Roshan, for introducing such a wonderful person to me. Have a great day :)
Reema D'souza said…
This indeed is true sportsmanship! Loved this story!
Menaka Bharathi said…
These are not just posts but inspiring lessons of sportsmanship which we need to teach our future generations...I think it leaves behind a lesson for all that giving up is something bigger than winning

Launching SIM Organics This April

*Menaka Bharathi *

*SimpleIndianMom*
Kalpanaa M said…
What an honourable sports person. Amazing story. I wonder what Abel Mutai had to say to him.

Karma #Lexicon of Leaving
There was no code of honour but that was Ivan's code of honour. Bless him!