What is it about cross-country skiing that brings out the best of the Olympic spirit?
Eight years ago to the day Sara Renner was skiing in the woman’s cross country ski relay with Beckie Scott. Renner was in front of the pack when she broke her ski pole and quickly slid to fourth place. From the sidelines a Norwegian coach leapt onto the course and handed Renner a ski pole. In the end the Canadians finished with a silver medal, the Norwegians fourth meaning that the Norwegian coach may have cost his team an Olympic medal.
On Tuesday, a Russian skier had fallen three times with a broken ski. The Canadian cross country ski coach, Justin Wadsworth, rushed out onto the course with an alternate ski, took off the skier’s broken ski, put on the new one and sent him on his way. Unfortunately, the story does not end with a Russian medal, but in an ironic twist the Canadian coach is Beckie Scott’s husband.
I somehow could not see a Canadian hockey player offering the same support to a Russian hockey player! As Wadsworth said, “We help because we know everyone works so hard… everyone wants fair results. I watched and could not understand why no one was helping him, not even the Russians.”
And so it is as educators that each and every day, we reach out, offer that ski, to allow each child to do their very best. It is about celebrating the effort, hard work, and allowing each individual to show their best. It is the true Olympic spirit.