Great Moments of Sportsmanship

NOTE, this might spoil the Olympic women’s 30km XC ski race if you haven’t watched it yet.

I was absolutely blown away last night watching a replay of the women’s 30km XC ski race from this years Olympics. The winner Theresa Johaug shattered the race and stamped her dominance over the field to win her 4th Olympics gold medal and 6th medal overall. She’s an absolute beast and yesterday was no exception.

What was incredible though was that after the race was over I left it on while I finished up washing the dishes and cleaning up my kitchen and the broadcast continued as all the skiers finished. I came back to the television as the last skier was coming to the finish line, and as she arrived, Johaug was there to greet her as she finished, hugged her, and then bent down to help her get her skis off. (For anybody that’s done an XC ski marathon, getting your own skis off SUCKS!) Not only this, but it was -15C out and really windy. Racing in those kinds of temperatures isn’t really all that bad until you stop, then you start to shiver nearly uncontrollably. Johaug could have been inside getting warm, basking in her gold medal victory. Instead, she chose to be outside in miserable conditions to show respect to her fellow Olympians.

I just thought this was so cool, wanted to share it with some people who understand the pains of endurance sports, and also ask you all what are some of the coolest moments of sportsmanship you can think of?


This is often referred to as a Dæhlie-gesture in Norway after Bjørn Dæhlie did the same for Philip Boit in Nagano in the 1998 Olympics.

Kenya’s First Winter Olympian Philip Boit Makes History - Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics

That time the medals ceremony had to be postponed because Dæhlie refused to receive his medal before everyone competing had finished. Boit later named his son after Dæhlie.


That was great to see. Therese is in a league of her own right now and that’s a strong gesture of kindness and sportsmanship. Ivo Niskanen did the same after winning gold in the 15k Classic, waiting for and greeting the last finisher. There’s a genuine appreciation in cross country skiing amongst the athletes for all of the athletes. It’s very refreshing.

BTW, that 30k race was incredible — all 4 USA women in the top 18, including two first time Olympians, Sophia Laukli and Novie McCabe, Rosie Brennen pulling the chase pack for almost the whole race (too bad Kertu Niskanen can’t share her Bronze w Rosie), and Jesse Diggin’s performance was other worldly. Absolutely amazing.

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That is so cool! Thanks for sharing that. I absolutely love that this is a tradition the Norwegians have been doing for decades. Do other athletes outside of Norway do the same? (I did not see Bolshunov do the same in the men’s race but I understand he’s not exactly the most loved person in the sport…)