In what will go down as one of the more touching moments of the Sochi Olympics, Swiss cross-country skier Dario Cologna won a gold medal and then waited 28 minutes to congratulate last-place finisher Roberto Carcelen of Peru at the finish line.
The 43-year-old Carcelen is Peru’s first Winter Olympian and has only been skiing since 2005. He was also competing with broken ribs as the result of a training accident just two weeks before the Olympics.
Cologna did not have an easy race either, having just finished a gruelling 39-minute, 15 km course with a close finish at the end.
Like many of the cross-country competitors, he collapsed after crossing the finish line.
You wouldn’t have blamed him if he just wanted to celebrate and find a massage therapist.
But 28 minutes later, and 11 minutes after every other skier had finished, Carcelen struggled down the final stretch. He was greeted by a standing ovation from the fans and grabbed a Peruvian flag from the crowd.
Carcelen (bib no. 92), who finished 87th, crossed the finish line and was first greeted by Dachhiri Sherpa of Nepal (bib no. 91), who finished 86th in the event.
And then, to the likely surprise of everybody, Cologna appeared, still carrying his skis, to greet both competitors with a handshake. What a great moment and what the Olympics should be all about.
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