Respect For Opponents?
Respect can surprise us in interesting ways. How many of us would have the courage to deliberately lose an important race to an opponent who’d made a mistake?
In December of 2012, in an extraordinary show of respectful sportsmanship, Ivan Fernandez Anay – a long-distance runner from the Basque region of Spain who was running in second place in an important race – deliberately slowed down at the end so that the actual leader could finish first.
It seems that the man in first place – Abel Mutai – a Bronze Medal winner in the London Olympics – had stopped running 10 meters before the actual finish line in the mistaken belief that he’d won. So when Anay came up behind Mutai – the clear winner – instead of taking advantage of the mistake to run past and claim victory, he slowed up and encouraged Mutai to start running again and finish first. Watch the video
Afterwards, Anay simply expressed that he felt it was the right thing to do. And he got far more attention for that respectful gesture toward his opponent, than he would have if he’d won the race. Sometimes respecting one’s opponent takes courage; and it can also be the right thing to do.