Being dead last is never fun. I would imagine that it is particularly painful if you've trained like a world champion, traveled halfway around the world and are competing at the Winter Olympics.
Roberto Carcelen of Peru was racing in a 15-kilometer cross-country skiing event. One unique hurdle he had, however, was that he was competing with a fractured rib. He had suffered the broken bone days before the Sochi, Russia, games in a training crash. And he ignored the doctor's advice not to compete. Carcelen hadn't come that far to stop at the starting gate.
Thrusting his arms back and forth to plant his ski poles in the snow as he competed in the cross-country men's classic must have been like boxing with a broken rib. I can't imagine the pain he must have endured.
Carcelen later confirmed: "It was a very difficult race for me. ... I was in a lot of pain in my right ribs."
Carcelen already had made history at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, when he became Peru's first Olympic athlete. Now he was determined to double down the Peruvian pride and simultaneously win the hearts of people all around the world.
For Carcelen, racing with his broken rib, finishing was winning. And that's exactly what he was determined to do as he approached the finish line in last place, waving Peru's flag as he did.
Dario Cologna of Switzerland had finished in first and won the gold (his third) with a time of 38 minutes, 29 seconds. Carcelen crossed the finished line at one hour, six minutes, 28 seconds.
The crowd cheered as Carcelen crossed the finished line. But the Olympic goose-bumps moment came when waiting to greet and embrace him at the finish line was none other than Cologna. Dachhiri Sherpa of Nepal, who finished second-to-last, also was waiting.
Now there's some genuine class. They are true Olympic champions. And Olympic-sized kudos in particular go out to Cologna for sticking around and showing gentleman's gold by commending his fellow and rival Olympians.
As Jay Busbee at Yahoo Sports exclaimed, "what a great Olympic moment."
Rachel Chase of Peru this Week reported: "For footage of Carcelen's finish, click here. But be warned, it may cause your heart to grow three sizes and/or restore your faith in humanity."
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