Iván Fernández Anaya, a 24 year old long distance runner, refused to take advantage of his opponent’s misadventure in a cross-country competition which took place in Burlada, Navarre.
Anaya won second place after helping his opponent Abel Mutai. Mutai, who was a bronze medal winner at the London 2012 Olympics, lost his way. He pulled away just about 10 meters before the finish line, believing he had already won. Instead of taking advantage of the situation, Anaya helped Mutai, guiding him to the actual finish line and letting him take the first place.
Anaya says he didn’t deserve to win and that the rightful spot was actually Mutai’s. His personal trainer, former Spanish distant runner Martin Fiz, said that Anaya showed grace that very few people would nowadays. What is more, Fiz believes that such gesture has never been made in the past before.
Anaya said that even if he had the chance to go back, he still would have let Mutai win. His notable actions may not have made him a better athlete or a bigger winner, but they have surely made him a better person. And let’s be honest, aren’t we all aiming to be better people?