Diego Méntrida of Spain enjoys winning as much as any other athlete, but he also understand it isn’t the most important part of competing.
As a triathlete, the 21-year-old 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 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 split second, James accidentally strayed off the path, running into a fence.
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The mishap gave Diego the opportunity to run ahead and claim third place himself, but his conscience wouldn’t allow him to follow through. In an moving display of sportsmanship, Diego stopped, waiting for James to cross the finish line first.
“James deserved this medal,” he told Eurosport.
A video of the gesture has since inspired millions, including professional soccer player Adrián San Miguel, who wrote that it captured “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 they awarded Diego with honorary third place, but we’re sure the best award for him is staying true to his values.
See Diego’s beautiful example of sportsmanship below, and share to inspire more kind acts like this.
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