Diego Méntrida of Spain enjoys winning as much as any other athlete, but he also understands it isn’t the most important part of competing. As an athlete, the 21-year-old man knows how much blood, sweat, and tears it takes for each competitor to simply finish, let alone in first place. That’s why he didn’t think twice before stopping short of the finish line at the 2020 Santander Triathlon(铁人三项) in September.
In the last leg of the race, Diego followed close behind British athlete James Teagle, who was about to place third. Then, in a second, James accidentally ran off the path, running into a fence. The small accident gave Diego the opportunity to run ahead and get third place himself, but he didn’t follow through. In a moving display of sportsmanship, Diego stopped, waiting for James to cross the finish line first.
“James deserved this medal,” he said. A video of the action has since inspired millions, including professional soccer player Adrián San Miguel, who wrote that it caught “the real values of sport”. Race winner Javier Gomez Noya also called it “the best in history”. As for Diego, he says it was simply the right thing to do. “This is something my parents and my club taught me since I was a child,” Diego wrote on Instagram. “In my view it should be a normal thing to do.
What an amazing role model! The event’s organizers were so impressed that they awarded Diego with honorary third place, but we’re sure the best award for him is staying true to his values.