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The 10 Greatest Acts Of Sportsmanship Ever Seen At The Olympic Games

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The 10 Greatest Acts Of Sportsmanship Ever Seen At The Olympic Games

By Ryan Rosendale

The incredible moment which saw high jumping duo Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi become the first athletes in 109 years to share an Olympic gold medal got us thinking...

While every athlete goes to the Olympic Games with a mindset of winning gold, some don't always let their shot at greatness get in the way of kindness and compassion.

Here, we count down the top 10 greatest moments of sportsmanship in the Olympics!

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And no, unfortunately the historic showing of sportsmanship between Barshim and Tamberi isn't on this list because we're only including moments from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and prior.

10. Cameron McEvoy - 2016 Rio Olympic Games

McEvoy was favourite heading into the 100m freestyle swim in Rio when he finished a shocking seventh. It was a heartbreaking result for McEvoy but instead of wallowing in self-pity, McEvoy embraced teammate and gold medal winner Kyle Chalmers as he celebrated his Olympic victory, showing true sportsmanship in the process.

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Cameron McEvoy. Credit: PA
Cameron McEvoy. Credit: PA

09. Andrew Turner and Jackson Quinonez - 2012 London Olympic Games

During a heat of the 110m hurdles in the 2012 London Olympics, Chinese track star and 2004 Olympic gold medallist Liu Xiang injured his right leg and hobbled past the finish line. Fellow competitors Andrew Turner from Britain and Spain's Jackson Quinonez came to Xiang's aid, assisting the former world-record holder to a wheelchair to be taken from the track.

08. Dara Torres - 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

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When the swimsuit of Sweden's Therese Alshammar ripped as she was preparing for a 50-meter freestyle semi-final, American Dara Torres tried helping Alshammar fix the suit but Alshammar had to change it and didn't enter the pool area with the rest of the swimmers. Officials were unaware of the situation occurring in the dressing room until Torres told them. This caused officials to hold off beginning the race until Alshammar was ready and although she didn't qualify for the final, Torres did and went onto win silver.

Xiang Liu was escorted from the track by his rival competitors. Credit: PA
Xiang Liu was escorted from the track by his rival competitors. Credit: PA

07. Pavle Kostov and Petar Cupac - 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Croatian sailor's Pavle Kostov and Petar Cupac failed to qualify for the final of the men's 49er skiff class but their boat still made a memorable appearance. Event leaders Jonas Warrer and Martin Kirketerp Ibsen of Denmark were in danger of being stranded when the mast of their skiff broke before the 10-boat final. It was then when Kostov and Cupac agreed to let the Danes use their boat. The pair ended up finishing in seventh which was still enough to help them win gold with the Croatians, along with trainer Ivan Bulaja, later awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for their gesture.

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06. Lutz Long - 1936 Berlin Olympic Games

Germany's Lutz Long has long been credited in helping famous American Jesse Owens' win gold in the long jump event in Berlin. After Owens's fouled on his first two attempts prior to the final, Long, who had already qualified, would give Owens advice to tweak his approach. The advice worked as Owens would make a successful jump and qualify for the final where he would go onto win gold while Long would win the silver medal in what was a terrific act of sportsmanship.

 Lutz Long and Jesse Owens pictured in 1936. Credit: IOC
Lutz Long and Jesse Owens pictured in 1936. Credit: IOC

05. Shawn Crawford - 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

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In the 200m track final of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, American Shawn Crawford finished in fourth behind winner Usain Bolt, Churandy Martina of the Netherlands Antilles, and fellow American Wallace Spearmon. But following the result, both Martina and Spearmon were disqualified for stepping on their lane lines during the race. As a result, Crawford was awarded the silver medal but following the games, Martina received a package from Crawford. It contained the silver medal and a note: "I know this won't replace the moment, but I want you to have this, because I believe it's rightfully yours!"

04. Shuhei Nishida and Sueo Oe - 1936 Berlin Olympic Games

American pole vaulter Earle Meadows claimed gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. This meant the silver would be fought out between Shuhei Nishida and Sueo Oe. Both vaulters finished with the same height, yet officials awarded the silver to Nishida for having fewer misses than Oe. The act of true sportsmanship occurred following the Games when Nishida and Oe cut their medals in half to create two new medals of half silver, half bronze. They were called the "medals of friendship."

Shawn Crawford sent this to Churandy Martina. Credit: Twitter/Churandy Martina
Shawn Crawford sent this to Churandy Martina. Credit: Twitter/Churandy Martina

03. Lawrence Lemieux - 1988 Seoul Olympic Games

Harsh winds caused havoc during the second-last race of the Finn class sailing event at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. The weather saw Singapore's Joseph Chan and Siew Shaw capsize. It was then when Canadian Lawrence Lemieux veered from his course and ceded his second-place position to rescue his competitors. He returned to the race to finish in 22nd position but following the Games, yacht racing's world governing body gave Lemieux the points from the race he would have earned for a second-place finish. Lemieux finished 11th overall in the event but was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for sportsmanship from the IOC for his actions.

02. Judy Guinness - 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games

While competing in the gold medal fencing match at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games, Britain's Judy Guinness notified judges that they had failed to award her opponent, Austria's Ellen Preis, two points for successful touches. The act of sportsmanship flipped the result, with Guinness claiming silver while Preis was awarded gold.

01. Abbey D'Agostino and Nikki Hamblin - 2016 Rio Olympic Games

One of the most memorable moments from the last Olympic Games didn't come from a gold medal winning performance, it came from an act of true sportsmanship. While competing in the heats of the 5000m track event, American Abbey D'Agostino and New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin were four and a half laps from the finish when Hamblin tripped and fell to the ground, causing D'Agostino to stumble over her and onto the racetrack as well. D'Agostino then went over and lent Hamblin a hand, encouraging her to get up and finish. The pair headed down the track until D'Agostino fell for a second time, due to an injury sustained in the mix-up. Hamblin then returned the favour - giving away any chance she had at advancing to the final - to help D'Agostino get back on her feet. After finishing, they embraced in a hug. The unlikely duo proved the importance of sportsmanship and received the International Fair Play Committee Award for their actions.


Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: olympics, Tokyo Olympics, Australia

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