My first blog of the New Year brings together my assembly theme from last week (the power of generosity to improve lives – and the world), the Lance Armstrong confessions on The Oprah Winfrey Show, a ball boy in Swansea and a story I read recently. If only it received the same amount of publicity! I hope you enjoy reading it too.
On 2nd December last year, Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai – bronze medallist in the 3,000-metre steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner – the certain winner of the race – mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.
Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai’s mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.
Ivan Fernandez Anaya, 24 years old, who is considered an athlete with a big future (champion of Spain of 5,000 metres in promise category two years ago), said after the race:
“But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn’t have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well.”
Its message is a universal truth that we hope to instil in all our young people: Some things are more important than winning – integrity being one of them.
Thanks for reading.