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When Second Place is Worth It

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

A true story reported by Inspiremore, relays the power of character and community.

Spanish runner Ivan Fernandez gave up his first-place spot in a race to second place Able Mutai the Kenyan bronze medalist runner when just 10 meters from the end. Mutai got confused on the signage and stopped running. Fernandez yelled at him in Spanish to keep going but Mutai did not understand him. Fernandez, realizing what was going, on pushed Mutai to victory.

A reporter asked Ivan, “Why did you do this?” Ivan replied, “My dream is that one day we can have some sort of community life where we push ourselves and others to win.” The reporter insisted, “But why did you let the Kenyan win?” Ivan answered, “I didn’t let him win, he was going to win. The race was his.” The reporter then insisted and said, “But you could have won!” Ivan looked at him and said, “But what would be the merit of my victory? What would be the honor of this medal? What would my Mother think of it?”

What a powerful picture of community where we strive for excellence but character guides our effort. Where we cheer one another on and celebrate what others accomplish. Where what we earn is attained by merit and we care what our Mothers would think!

I am inspired by the honest character of Fernandez and by his dream of uplifting community. What stands out to you? Where might you carry forward something from this example?

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