Honesty Squared

Spanish Runner, Ivan Fernandez Anaya, gave up the opportunity to take advantage of a misunderstanding by his opponent and then was sincerely frank about why he did so.

This doesn’t change my opinion as to the silliness of high-stakes athletic competition but it can’t help but raise the spirit with regard to how decent people can be when the stakes may be high but are not cranked up to ridiculous levels.

It is clear from the video that Abel Mutai was confused by a change of track colour rather than experiencing a failure of strength or will, so I suppose Anaya had good reason to think that it would be unfair to win (if one thinks of the race as a purely physical contest). But what I particularly like is his frankness about his own motives.

At the end of the El Pais report he is quoted as saying “Of course it would be another thing if there was a world or European medal at stake. Then, I think that, yes, I would have exploited it to win… But I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well”

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