Competition can, and should, bring out the best in us. That is why sports are played. They are not played simply to win, they are played to learn how to win. And this process includes respecting your opponents.
Here are a few instances from last year which proved the same.
1. When Virat Kohli went to congratulate Mohammad Rizwan after Pakistan registered victory over India in the T20 World Cup opener.
2. When Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi decided to share Olympics gold instead of going for a jump-off.
When Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi finished the men’s high jump competition tied, they could have gone to a jump-off to decide the winner.— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 1, 2021
Instead, they decided to share the gold, and their reaction is what we love about sports. #TokyoOlympics pic.twitter.com/ALTyeysC8t
3. When Belgium’s Claire Michelle came last in the Olympics triathlon, it was her competitor Lotte Miller who reminded her who she is – “a f*cking fighter”.
4. In a tear-jerking video, a South African swimming gold medallist was surrounded by her American opponents as she could not believe she had won.
“…the world records and things like that fall away and medals fall away but a moment like that…” – Tatjana Schoenmaker pic.twitter.com/Lka054u2Ag— SWIMNERD (@SwimNerds) October 19, 2021
Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa celebrates with her competitors after setting a new world record and winning gold in the women’s 200m breaststroke. More top photos from the Tokyo Olympics: https://t.co/l5JILBfQot 📷 @carlrecine pic.twitter.com/dWGL44FZ8d— Reuters Pictures (@reuterspictures) August 8, 2021
5. When Simone Biles went and congratulated the Russian gymnastics team captain Angelina Melnikova after the country’s victory over the USA. Melnikova there couldn’t believe it, and we get that.
Sportsmanship at its highest level. @Simone_Biles congratulates ROC women’s gymnastics team captain, Angelina Melnikova, after she helped lead her team to gold.#StrongerTogether | #Tokyo2020 | @gymnastics | @TeamUSA | @USAGym pic.twitter.com/dyjF8icmor— Olympics (@Olympics) July 28, 2021
6. When Steve Johnson jumped over the net to help Gael Monfils, who had suffered an injury during their US Open match.
7. This is an off-the-court incident but deserves to be on the list.
When Neeraj Chopra took a stand for his Pakistan opponent Arshad Nadeem after a troll army started targeting the latter. “Sports teaches us to be united,” he said.
मेरी आप सभी से विनती है की मेरे comments को अपने गंदे एजेंडा को आगे बढ़ाने का माध्यम न बनाए। Sports हम सबको एकजूट होकर साथ रहना सिखाता हैं और कमेंट करने से पहले खेल के रूल्स जानना जरूरी होता है 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/RLv96FZTd2— Neeraj Chopra (@Neeraj_chopra1) August 26, 2021
8. When Finland fans gave their national flag so that Christian Eriksen could be given some privacy on the pitch after his unfortunate heart attack.
📖(FACT OF THE DAY): The two pieces of clothes that were being used to give privacy to Eriksen while he was being stretchered off were actually Flags of Finland given by fans from the stands.— Arpan Banerjee (@Arsenio_FCB) June 12, 2021
More than just a game ❤️!! pic.twitter.com/rNkrJq7FtY
9. As a gesture of appreciation, American swimmer Caeleb Dressel gave his gold medal to Brooks Curry who swam for him in the prelims.
After Team USA got their gold medals for the 4×100-meter freestyle relay at the Olympics, Caeleb Dressel tossed his gold medal to teammate Brooks Curry in the stands, who watched didn’t swim in the final, but he was part of the team that qualified for the final pic.twitter.com/yMQVRlHNNG— Aniket Mishra (@aniketmishra299) July 28, 2021
10. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya and Brazil’s Rayssa Leal after winning street skateboarding medals. They are both 13.
13 year old Brazil’s Rayssa Leal (silver) and 13 year old Japan’s Momiji Nishiya (gold) winners of the skateboarding women’s street final of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Sports Park in Tokyo on July 26, 2021. pic.twitter.com/1kCEkHhDvw— 数悌部 (@LetsVisitJapan) July 26, 2021
Japan’s Nishiya Momiji is the first ever women’s Olympic #skateboarding gold medalist. Wins the street event. She’s 13!— amal john (@amaljohn123) July 26, 2021
2nd – Rayssa Leal from Brazil. Also 13!
3rd – Nakayuma Fuma. 16.
Is this the youngest Olympic podium? #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/3N7A8ZKRK2
These lift our spirits.