Friday, January 18, 2013

Youth Sports: Winning at all Costs

If the win at all costs, Lance Armstrong, is the most despicable athlete on earth right now, then Basque runner Ivan Fernandez Anaya is the most admirable.

During a cross country race in Burlanda, Navarre, Ivan was outpaced by Abel Mutai, the London Olympic Bronze Medalist in the 3000M. Ivan ran a good race, but trailed Abel by a wide margin entering the final stretch. Abel, who had an unsurmountable lead, pulled up 10 meters short of the finish line thinking that he had won. Ivan caught up and could have easily passed Abel, but he didn't. Instead he used gestures to communicate to the Kenyan and pushed him ahead and across the line to win the race.

 The Main Point

Ivan said that even if winning meant earning a spot on the Spanish team for the European Championships, he still would have pushed Abel ahead. Ivan has character, the cold and calculating Lance Armstrong does not, not even a little.

This event happened in December. Unfortunately, these types of stories are overshadowed by Lance Armstrong admitting to taking performance enhancing drugs and lying about it. This story is also obscured by Manti T'eo imaginary girlfriend hoax.

I have talked to my kids about all of these stories. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.


  1. These are the kinds of sports stories we should want our kids to hear. Sports should teach them about dignity, sportsmanship, fair play and team work--not win no matter what you have to do to win.

    1. Hi Jodi - Sports should teach that - unfortunately coaches do the teaching and most have not learned this lesson.

  2. You mean we shouldn't teach them to beat their chest and make mean faces when they do the most rudimentary task in their sport of choice? Kidding of course. I agree, more of these stories need to be out there. I've seen similar stories, I believe a girl's track meet, where the runner will help the other runner across, etc. When they do pop up, I make sure my daughter's pay attention to real sportsmanship.

    1. I do the same with my kids. Thanks for adding to the conversation.




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