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Friday, February 14, 2014

Silver is the Olympic Golden Spirit

When Denny Morrison won silver in the 1,000m speed skating event the other day, the real winner was Gilbert Junio.

Junio exemplified the Olympic spirit more than any other athlete that I've seen since Norwejian Cross-Country Ski Coach, Bjornar Haakensmoen, gave Canadian Sara Renner, a new pole, after she broke hers at the 2006 Torino Winter Games.  Renner teamed with Beckie Scott to win the silver medal in the sprint relay final.  His gesture of goodwill allowed the Canadians, who were in first place, but who fell to fourth, after the broken pole, to get back in the race.  Ironically, the Norwegian team finished fourth, which meant that his goodwill may have cost his country a medal. 

Back to Junio.  At the Canadian Olympic trials, Morrison caught an edge and fell as he approached the finish of the 1,000m race.  This caused the veteran to not qualify for the 1,000m...and allowed Junio to qualify, in addition to the 500m, which was his specialty.

The day before the 1,000m race in Sochi, Junio offered up his spot to Morrison - a selfless act that I'm not sure that I or many others would have done.  In fact, making it that much more complicated, Junio's parents traveled to Sochi to see him race and had tickets to the 1,000m race.

When Morrison won the silver medal, it made Junio appear brilliant and someone with great premonition.  It also made Morrison want to share his medal with Junio.

In fact, Morrison has now started a campaign to get Junio selected to serve as the flag bearer for the closing ceremonies - an idea whose time may have come.  Is there anyone else who has demonstrated the Olympic ideals more?

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