The Spanish triathlete won over many hearts when he let his opponent James Teagle from Britain take his rightful place in the race.
Spanish triathlete Diego Méntrida has earned high praise after executing an excellent display of sportsmanship. The professional athlete was a few steps behind his competitor, James Teagle from Britain, in the final stages of the Santander Triathlon when the latter sportsman got confused after he spotted a red banner. He believed it marked the finish line, but it was only a hoarding. As spectators told him to turn around, Teagle crashed into the barriers lining the course of the run. Méntrida ended up overtaking him, but instead of running through the finish line to claim third place, he waited for his "rival," CNN reports.
This is class 👏🏻— Sport Innovation Society (@sis) September 17, 2020
Spaniard triathlete, Diego Méntrida let his rival pass when he made a mistake before the finish line. They were fighting for the 🥉 in the Santander Triathlon.
🏊🏻♀️ 🚴🏻 🏃🏻 pic.twitter.com/DenHRw4jOy
The British athlete proceeded to run towards the finish line when he realized the mistake he had made. There, the two sportsmen shook hands as he crossed the line to take his spot on the podium: third place. Footage of the incident was posted online and went viral almost immediately, with thousands of social media users sharing the clip and applauding Méntrida's gracious actions. Liverpool's Spanish goalkeeper Adrián and former keeper Iker Casillas both praised Méntrida. The goalkeeper wrote in a Twitter post, "The real values of sport in a single gesture." Meanwhile, folks outside the world of sport also took notice.
Actor Will Smith said in a video posted to Instagram, "I love, love this story. I know it's Sunday and all that but I cried, it made me cry. I just like integrity, this is integrity on full display. You're my dude Diego, I appreciate you." Meanwhile, Méntrida said he was simply humbled by all the praise he received. "This is something that my parents and my Ecosport Triathlon group taught me since I was a kid," he said in an Instagram post. "In my opinion, this is something that should be considered as a typical situation. I never thought that something like this would reach so far and have so much impact across the media. But I'm proud to receive so much love."
In light of his sweet gesture, the organizers of the Santander Triathlon decided to award him an honorary third-place award. A statement from the team read, "These gestures are what make organizing these events worth it. Congratulations, Diego." Teagle, his competitor, too appreciated the show of sportsmanship. "I suppose it just shows massive integrity and great sportsmanship and I think people have really taken it to heart," he said in an interview with BBC Breakfast. "It's gone all over the world and it's incredible just to see that and people valuing that sportsmanship."
I make an effort to search out at least one positive news story every day, just to restore my faith in humanity a little. This one did exactly that. Great display of sportsmanship (and general good human-ness) from Diego Méntrida! https://t.co/btU6VvIzHc— Anna Lambert (@4nnaLambert) September 20, 2020