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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