Shaun White didn’t medal. That’s right, like Samson who lost his strength after Delilah cut his hair; a short haired Shaun White did not have a three-peat Olympic Gold Medal at the Sochi Olympics. The winner of the gold is a young Russian born snow boarder representing Switzerland. Iouri Podladchikov was amazing. Of course Shaun White was disappointed and I-Pod (Iouri)) was ecstatic. When the numbers came up and White placed fourth it would not have been surprising if he simply walked away. Instead as I-Pod shouted in joy he and Shaun embraced with the winner tightly embracing the man who set the standard in half-pipe gold. And Shaun beamed as he patted the new champion on the back. It was classic good sportsmanship between two very skilled young athletes.
Watching it I thought about the Super Bowl and the devastating loss of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos to the Seattle Seahawks. At the end of the game that brought the Seahawks to the Super Bowl Richard Sherman had flung after game insults at Michael Crabtree (not good behavior but in response to bad behavior by Crabtree.) The final moments of the Super Bowl had Sherman in a very different situation. Injuring his ankle in the fourth quarter he was taken off the field in a cart. However when the Seahawks brought it home he joined his team mates using crutches to get back out on the field. And it was then that Peyton Manning went up to him, hand outstretched, and asked if he was okay as he congratulated him on the win. Sherman applauded Manning in after game interviews calling him a future Hall of Famer.
So what is the point of this blog? The point is there is still a class of athlete that appreciates a good win even if his or her own loss is heart breaking. And there are still winners who can win with grace. Kudos to Shaun White, Iouri Podladchikov, Peyton Manning, and Richard Sherman. The young athletes coming up behind you and watching closely need examples like you men. Thanks!