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Here are 3 short snippets of Olympic History with a good sportsmanship story attached.
Lutz Long & Jesse Owens, Long Jump
One of the earliest recorded moments of a good sportsmanship story occurred in 1936 Berlin Olympics between Lutz (Luz) Long and Jesse Owens.
Carl Ludwig “Lutz” Long is famous for assisting Jesse Owens in the preliminary round of the Long Jump. Owens had fouled his first 2 jumps and with 1 jump remaining to advance to the Finals, Long gave Owens some advice on hitting the board safely.
As history goes, Owens safely made the preliminary mark and went to win the Long jump (plus the 100m, 200, and 4x100m relay) and Long won the silver. They jumped 8.06m and 7.87m respectively, which isn’t too shabby considering it was 1936 on a cinder runway.
A little known fact about Lutz Long is he also competed in the Triple Jump and finished 10th.
Rink Babka & Al Oerter, Discus
At the 1960 Rome Olympics, Al Oerter was the slight favorite over teammate and world record holder Rink Babka in the discus. Oerter was the defending Olympic Champion from his 1956 Gold medal.
After four rounds, Rink Babka was in the lead.
Being a USA teammate, or simply an athlete with good sportsmanship, Babka gave Oerter advice before his fifth throw and Oerter threw his discus 59.16 meters (194 feet 2 inches), an Olympic record.
Babka could not improve on his performance and ended up finishing with the silver behind Oerter.
Al Oerter went on to win the 2 more Gold medals in 1964 and 1968.
Eugenio Monti, Bobsled
Eugenio Monti is most famous for the “incident” at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. He gave his bolt from his own sled to the British 2 man team, who eventually won the Gold.
Monti also help Vic Emery’s Canadian 4 man team repair their own sled, who also won Gold.
This act of sportsmanship left Monti with 2 bronzes in 1964. He also won 2 silvers at the 1956 Games in Cortina (Italy), and the 1960 Games in Squaw Valley (California) didn’t contest the Boblsled.
Monti quoted, “(The British Team) Nash didn’t win because I gave him the bolt. He won because he had the fastest run”.
Monti eventually won 2 Golds at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble at age 40!
What are your favorite good sportsmanship stories?