Over the past few months, sports fans (and everyone else) across the country have unfortunately been subject to what seems like a trend of once-beloved sports stars crumbling under their own lies, cheating and deceit. Sports hero after sports hero turning to dust as we uncover steroids, HGH or fake girlfriends. However, contrary to popular belief, there ARE still truly inspiring and moving stories of real heroes that show us how sports is really meant to be played, enjoyed and cherished. Thus, for this week’s Daily Drivers, we wanted to shed some light on four true sports heroes that just might fill the vacancy on your wall and ease the scars on your heart left by stars fallen from a grace they never deserved.
True Heroes That Drive Us to be Great
What if I told you that one of the brightest sports heroes over the last two months didn’t do all he could to win, but actually did all he could to lose? What if I told you that a true sports hero came in second?
From the first days you start playing sports or going to school, your coaches and teachers have always preached sportsmanship and integrity above all. And yet, for so many of us, winning becomes the only way to define success (I’m guilty of this sometimes too). It consumes us at the expense of the people around us as we forget that it is greater to have competed and grown camaraderie than have conquered and established sole victory. This is what happened to our now dirtied heroes. Now, as we look forward and try to remember those stars that truly embrace and embody competition and sportsmanship, we should look no further than Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Spanish runner whose act of humility should inspire us all.
Like any aspiring professional runner, Ivan Fernandez Anaya awoke on December 2nd, 2012 with his mind focused squarely on that day’s cross-country road race. Winning this race could be a huge step in his continued growth and progression on the national team. With many elite runners in the field including former Olympic bronze medalist Abel Mutai (3000 meter steeplechase), Ivan knew his work was cut out for him. This was only further validated as Mutai built a sizable lead heading into the final leg of the race. However, as Ivan looked towards the finish line, he noticed that Mutai had oddly stopped before he reached the finish line, likely thinking that he had already crossed the line. It was decision time.
And this is where Ivan chose to become a true hero while many of our former stars may have acted differently. Instead of running by the confused Kenyan for a certain career-accelerating victory, Ivan decided to be the better man by running up to Mutai and motioning him to cross the proper finish line in first place. No hesitation, no regrets and definitely no arrogance. Just pure sportsmanship at its finest. And what Ivan said after the race only further justifies his status as true hero that gives us The Drive to be great:
“I didn’t deserve to win it. I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake”
Yesterday’s Daily Driver (01/21)
Thanks for checking out the Daily Driver post on “The Drive.” Come back every day for daily quotes, pictures, people or moments that we hope can provide inspiration or motivation in your life. Or follow us on Twitter @TheDriveSports and look for #DailyDriver to get your daily dose of inner fire!