On Friday, Dario Cologna of Switzerland won his second gold medal of the Sochi Olympics, finishing first in the men's 15k Classic in 38:29. More than 25 minutes later, with 85 other competitors having crossed the finish line, Peru's Roberto Carcelen was still on the course. And so was Cologna.
The gold medalist (bib 35) came back to the finish line to greet Carcelen as he completed his race to cheering fans and with a Peruvian flag he picked up in the final meters of the race. Once there, Cologna offered a warm handshake to the last-place finisher who came in 28 minutes behind him. Race winners almost always congratulate those they defeated, but usually when the deficits are in seconds, not dozens of minutes.
Carcelen, one of Peru's three athletes at the Winter Olympics, broke a rib last month but wanted to compete in Sochi anyway.
"Isn't this what the Olympic spirit is all about?" he wrote on his website prior to arriving in Russia.
As the gold medalist showed, Carcelen wasn't the only cross-country skier who knows something about the Olympic spirit.