Junio earns Olympic-sized respect

Moose Jaw Times Herald - Editorial Staff
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Gold medals are worth celebrating, but displays of sportsmanship are often overlooked.

Canadian long track speed skater Denny Morrison is trying to make sure teammate Gilmore Junio’s gracious gesture doesn’t go unnoticed.

If you have not already heard, Morrison fell during the national trials’ 1,000-metre race. He failed to qualify for that Winter Olympics event.

A couple of days before the men’s 1,000-metre race, Junio did what many athletes would not even consider doing. He offered his Olympic spot in the race to Morrison.

We will never know what result Junio would have netted, but Morrison’s silver medal-winning performance no doubt made Junio and Canadian Olympic supporters across the globe proud of our red and white roots.

Now Morrison is advocating that Junio be Canada’s flag bearer at the closing ceremonies.

Does he deserve to carry Canada’s flag out of Fisht Olympic Stadium?

Yes, he does.

Will he be the athlete to wave the maple leaf one last time in Sochi?

It’s very likely he will not.

Regardless of whether or not Junio is Canada’s flag bearer on Feb. 23, his athlete-to-athlete gesture of sportsmanship is rarely seen at the Olympic level of competition.

Granted, Junio and Morrison are teammates, but the decision to offer up an Olympic spot for a fellow competitor is nothing short of amazing.

It’s sportsmanship at its finest.

Will Junio’s example lead to similar gestures the rest of the way in Sochi, or at future Olympic venues Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2016) and Pyeongchang, South Korea (2018)?

That question remains to be answered, but hopefully young athletes here in Saskatchewan will be able to learn from Junio.

As an athlete you compete to be the best you can be at your sport of choice, so the obvious thing to do is give yourself as many opportunities to succeed and ultimately win.

For young athletes, however, they need to understand sometimes winning takes a backseat to sportsmanship.

In the end, you will gain more respect from your fellow athletes by stepping aside and giving friends, teammates and fellow competitors a shot at seeing their dreams come true.

Gilmore Junio has earned that respect.

All editorials are written by the Times-Herald editorial staff.

Organizations: Times-Herald

Geographic location: Junio, Canada, Sochi Fisht Olympic Stadium Rio de Janeiro Brazil South Korea Saskatchewan

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