9 Great Moments in Sportsmanship
If you’ve spent the past week scratching your head about a soccer player biting an opponent at the World Cup, we have the perfect pick-me-up to show that sports aren’t always survival of the toothiest. These nine incredible acts of sportsmanship — five in the text and photos below, four in the accompanying video — just may restore your faith in sports humanity.
Hilary Knight, Two-time Olympic Medalist in Ice Hockey
When we play Canada, I’d use two words to describe it: sharks and blood. Each team is like a group of sharks, hungry and sensing blood in the water, and doing everything we can to get what we want.
So in the first game of the 2012 worlds, all that passion, fervor and national pride was on full display. It was a rough, aggressive game, when out of the corner of my eye I saw Canadian player Haley Irwin take a nasty spill into the corner of the boards. She went down hard, and was struggling to get up and find her footing.
But the play went the other direction, down the ice away from Haley, and usually the ref won’t blow the whistle until the team with an injured player has possession, to avoid the potential advantage of faking an injury. Play continued, and Haley was on her feet, trying to skate on only one leg, and she was struggling to get back to her bench.
That’s when our goalie, Molly Schaus, gave her a little push to help her get some momentum and slide across the ice toward the Canadian bench. It was a big risk: The puck could have redirected and gone into the net, and Molly might have been out of position to block it. Anything could have happened. But it was clear to me that she was thinking, even with our intense rivalry, There’s a person. She’s injured. Let me help in some way.
To be completely honest, at that moment I had mixed feelings about it! We were competing on the world stage, and though no one likes to see injuries, we are also trying to completely demolish the other team.
But after I saw Haley finally get to the bench, I was so glad that Molly had that kind of empathy, even during the heat of the game. Molly showcased what each athlete tries to uphold. The true spirit of sports is peace and unity through competition, and, even in the most intense of rivalries, we’re all in this together. We may be competitors, but we’re people first, and it was the decent, human, thing to do.