They Bring Out the Best
- They Bring Out the Best
In the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, six-time medalist Eugenio Monti from Italy was favored to win the gold medal in the bobsledding pair event. After his team’s last run, it looked like they were going to make it.
The British team, led by Tony Nash Jr., still had a chance, but before their final run, Nash discovered a critical axle bolt had broken on their sled. They were done.
Without hesitation, Monti removed the bolt from his sled and rushed it up to Nash’s team. They were able to continue, and their run was so strong they won the gold medal.
The Italian press viciously criticized Monti for giving up the gold, but he was steadfast. “Nash didn’t win because I gave him the bolt,” he said. “He won because he had the fastest run.”
Olympic swimming medalist John Naber says a true sportsman, one who believes in the Olympic ideal, not only wants to win, he wants to win against his best opponent on his best day. A true sportsman is not elated, but disappointed, when top competitors are injured or disqualified.
Monti won the gold medal at the next Winter Olympics, but it was his willingness to lose that earned him a prominent place in Olympic history.