Canadian Coach Gives Ski to Stricken Russian

'You can't just sit there,' Justin Wadsworth says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2014 11:57 PM CST
Russia's Anton Gafarov falls with a broken ski during his men's semifinal of the cross-country sprint at the 2014 Winter Olympics.   (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
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(Newser) – A touching Olympic moment in Sochi: Canada's cross-country ski coach Justin Wadsworth came to the rescue yesterday as Russian Anton Gafarov tried to drag himself off the course with a broken ski. The coach, whose athletes had already been eliminated, hustled over with a spare ski so the Russian could cross the finish line with dignity. "It was like watching an animal stuck in a trap," the coach tells the Toronto Star. "You can’t just sit there and do nothing about it." Gafarov, who broke his ski when he crashed on a tight corner, got a huge cheer as he finished the race more than two minutes behind.

"Thanks to Wadsworth’s good deed, a racer who officially finished 12th will be the only thing many people remember about cross country skiing at the 2014 Olympics," writes Chris Chase at USA Today. Wadsworth, a three-time American Olympian, is married to Canadian skiier Beckie Scott, whose relay partner Sara Renner was lent a ski pole by a Norwegian coach at the 2006 Games, Yahoo notes. They won silver while Norway finished fourth. "This competition, and all competitions, it should be a fight. It should not be decided by skis," the Norwegian coach said afterward. (Read more 2014 Sochi Olympics stories.)

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