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February 23, 2006

Good Sports

In this week's Olympic edition of Zooming In, Gelf's quasi-weekly roundup of undercovered local stories from around the world: Lindsey Jacobellis pulls a Devon Loch; a controversial Indian luger; and a Swedish miracle. One of our favorites deals with Canadian fans' newfound respect for the people of Norway.

Zooming In
Paul Antonson
Norwegian newspapers have been overwhelmed by the responses from Canadian fans after good sportsmanship from a Norwegian coach helped the Canadian women take silver in the cross-country team sprint competition. After Canada's Sara Renner broke her pole in the middle of the race, Bjørnar Håkensmoen, standing near the course, handed her a new one. With Canada back in the race, the Norwegians settled for fourth. In appreciation for the help, a group called the Independent Communications Dealers of Canada has mounted a drive to send 8,000 bottles of maple syrup to the country and another Canadian group is organizing a petition to award the Norwegian team an honorary medal (Aftenposten). The editors of the Norway Post and the Aftenposten both printed a selection of letters from grateful Canadians. One example:
In a world gone mad… with even the simplest of misunderstandings leading to violence the world over, it's heartening to see that we can still be human. The selfless act of Bjornar Hakensmoen, the Norwegian cross-country ski boss, in handing a new ski pole to Canadian Sara Renner, during the heat of competition, without thought as to how the outcome might have affected his own team, stands alone in my mind as one of the brightest moments I can recall in this, or any other Olympics.

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