By Ken Reed
In a sports era where there’s too much ego, greed, and unethical behavior, it’s fun and heartwarming to note great examples of sportsmanship.
Two such cases came to my attention yesterday.
The first happened recently. It took place at the Rio Olympics in the women’s 5000 meter race.
New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblen and American runner Abbey D’Agostino got tangled up in the 5K race and fell to the ground. D’Agostino struggled to get up and then saw Hamblen was still on the ground. Instead of resuming the race, D’Agostino went over and helped Hamblen up, encouraging her to finish the race.
Hamblen and D’Agostino eventually both completed the 5K race (D’Agostino while limping from an injury she suffered in the fall), but were well back of the leaders.
“That girl is the Olympic spirit right there,” Hamblin said of D’Agostino. “I’ve never met her before. Like I never met this girl before. And isn’t that just so amazing. Such an amazing woman.”
The two athletes hugged at the finish line, now friends for life.
“I’m never going to forget that moment,” Hamblin said. “When someone asks me what happened in Rio in 20 years’ time, that’s my story …”
The second instance of great sportsmanship took place years ago but was only revealed recently. It took place during the final match of the 1996 U.S. Amateur golf tournament. Tiger Woods was going after his third straight Amateur title. He was playing Steve Scott, an unknown 19-year-old amateur.
Scott was 2 holes up on Woods with three to play. On the 34th hole of their match, Scott asked Woods to re-mark his ball so it wouldn’t be in Scott’s line. Woods did move his mark but was about to putt without moving his ball back to the original position. If he had done that, he would have been penalized with the loss of the hole and Scott would’ve won the tournament. But Scott didn’t want to win that way and told Woods to move his ball back to the original mark so he wouldn’t get penalized. Woods then birdied and eventually won the match and the Amateur title.
“You should win the match with your clubs,” Scott said, “not because of a rules gaffe.”
“That’s true sportsmanship (what Scott did),” said Woods. “A testament to what the game of golf is all about.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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