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Sportsmanship

2009 January 31
by Skip Sauer

From Rachel Cohen of the AP:

Shawn Crawford confirmed that he gave his Olympic silver medal to Churandy Martina, the sprinter who finished second in the 200 meters but was later disqualified for running out of his lane.

“I’m like, if a guy is 10 meters in front of me, I don’t care if he stayed in the middle of his lane,” Crawford told The Associated Press on Friday after finishing third in the 60 at the Millrose Games. “He was going to beat me anyway. He didn’t impede in anybody’s race.”

Crawford, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, originally came in fourth in Beijing. Teammate Wallace Spearmon was third but was disqualified for running out of his lane.

American officials studied video of the race and then filed a protest against Martina for the same error. Martina and his Netherland Antilles team have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, arguing that the protest was filed too late under rules set by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Martina finished in 19.82 seconds behind world record-setter Usain Bolt. Crawford’s time was 19.96.

…Crawford left the medal for Martina at a hotel during a meet shortly after the Olympics.

I remember the race, and being disappointed that Shawn didn’t do better — like me, Shawn is from Clemson. I also remember the hair-splitting decisions, and thinking that Spearmon and Martina both got hosed. I understand the principle of standing up for your man, but two wrongs don’t make a right. Kudos to Shawn Crawford for his sportsmanship, and for being a first class Clemson Tiger!

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