Olympic Glory: Gold Reception for Last-Place Peruvian Skier
The Sochi Olympics medal counts and stories of triumph can obscure the commitment of low-profile athletes. They don’t play “Here’s to the Losers” on the winner’s podium for a reason. However, Peru’s Roberto Carcelen, the injured cross-country skier who gutted out a last-place finish in the men’s 15-kilometer classic race, found quite a reception when he arrived at the finsh line, Deadspin reports. Among those waiting to congratulate him was Dario Cologna, the Swiss gold medalist who waited 30 minutes for Carcelen to finish.
A gutsy performance by the Peruvian
Roberto Carcelen’s tough Sochi Olympics began several weeks before the cross-country race took place. Reuters reports Carcelen, who is the first Peruvian to qualify for and compete in a Winter Olympic Games, broke two ribs during training in late January, which put his appearance in the race in jeopardy.
At the same time, Carcelen came down with a bad cold, making his chances to place in the 15-kilometer classic even more in question. Visibly ailing and some 28 minutes off Cologna’s winning pace, Carcelen grabbed a Peruvian flag from the stands before crossing the finish line. Only then did he see the gold medalist waiting to congratulate him.
The intensity of Olympics competition often takes precedence over the immense amount of respect the athletes have for one another. There are times throughout the games when you can see representatives from different countries drop their guards and celebrate an opponent’s majesty. Cologna’s warm greeting of Carcelen represented that spirit in its purest form.