By Ken Reed

When we see great acts of sportsmanship we tend to say, “That’s nice” and get back to focusing on who won the competition.

Yes, sportsmanship is “nice” but in the big picture sportsmanship – how you play the game – is the most important thing. It’s the essence of sports at its best.

People will remember how you treated your opponents, your teammates, and the sport itself, long after they remember if you won the competition, or received a medal or trophy.

Poor sportsmanship is the work of the ego. Good sportsmanship is the work of the soul.

Sportsmanship is the spirit of sports competition and why witnessing it tugs at our hearts. That tugging is a sure sign sportsmanship is ultimately the most important aspect of sports.

In this video, Spanish triathlete Diego Mentriga noticed that British triathlete James Teagle (who Mentriga had trailed the entire race) went the wrong way near the finish line of the Santander Triathlon. When he saw what happened, Mentriga decided to wait at the finish line for Teagle and allow him to cross the finish line before he did. This act allowed Teagle to receive the bronze medal in the race.

“He was in front of me the whole time,” said Mentriga afterwards. “He deserved it.”

This great act of sportsmanship will define Mentriga both as an athlete and a person.

Nobody will remember what place he finished.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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