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Peru and Switzerland offer a gold medal moment for our hearts

Peru and Switzerland offer a gold medal moment for our hearts

Posted by Juan Gavasa on February 15, 2014

This is only Peru’s second appearance at the Winter Olympics, their first being in Vancouver four years ago. They’ve had the same delegation of three athletes at both games. So when Roberto Carcelen — their first ever winter Olympian, now competing in Sochi — broke a rib in training, he wasn’t about to let that little detail stop him from competing in the arduous 15km cross-country ski race.

Carcelen was badly out-gunned in the intense competition. In fact, the gold medal leader — Dario Cologna from Switzerland — managed to finish the race in 38:29. But Carcelen finished dead last, a 1:06:28. Carcelen was so slow that he was actually alone on the course for more than 10 minutes before crossing the finish line.

But Carcelen had heart. He had drive and he was competing with a broken rib. Knowing he was dead last, he even finished the race with his country’s flag over his head, crossing the finish line with pride. But that’s when he saw the gold medallist, Cologna from Switzerland and Nepal’s Dachhiri Sherpa, waiting for him.

To show his appreciation for the competitor, a first-time winter Olympian from his country, for the drive to compete despite injury, Cologna and Sherpa hung around the finish line for an extra 30 minutes after winning gold just to shake Carcelen’s hand. That’s some real class, there, guys. Amid all the competition, sheer appreciation for the sport continues to trump everything in Sochi.

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