In a truly Canadian Olympic moment, a coach from the Canadian team came to the rescue of a Russian cross-country skier, who fell and broke his ski during a race. Read the full story and an interview with the coach.
The athlete, Anton Gafarov, crashed early in the race but tried to continue, falling several times. From the sidelines emerged Canadian coach Justin Wadsworth, ski in hand. He quickly swapped Gafarov’s broken ski for a fresh one and the athlete pushed on. He would finish the race in a distant last place, but in front of cheering fans from his home country. Catch the full video on Deadspin.
The Globe’s Allan Maki spoke with the coach after the event. Read the full story here.
“I was on the course with spare skis and poles for Alex [Harvey, a member of the Canadian team that didn’t qualify for the sprint final],” said Wadsworth. “I just went to watch. The Russian fell on the big downhill before the finish area and broke a ski. I was surprised no one else on the course gave him anything.”
“I went over and gave him one of Alex’s spare skis. It was about giving Gafarov some dignity so he didn’t have to walk to the finish area.”
This was not the first time a coach had helped a cross-country skier from another country. At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Sara Renner and Beckie Scott were racing in the team sprint final when Renner broke a pole.
Watching from the sidelines, Norwegian coach Bjornar Hakensmoen gave Renner a new pole which allowed her not only to finish the race but to win a silver medal with Scott. The Norwegians came in fourth, meaning that Hakensmoen’s heroics may have cost his own team a medal.
Photos 1-4: Matthias Schrader/AP
Photos 5-6: NBC screengrabs via Deadspin