Dario Cologna (right), Dachhiri Sherpa (left) and Roberto Carcelen (middle) post race Photo: Paul Gilham / Getty Images
Last friday, Swiss skier Dario Cologna won the men’s cross-country 15km classic event in Sochi with a time of 38:29. After skiing 15 km (approximately 9.3 miles), Cologna was exhausted but not to tired to show what true class and Olympic Spirit means.
Cologna waited 28 minutes after he crossed the line to congratulate the final two racers in the event including Nepal cross-country skier Dachhiri Sherpa, and Roberto Carcelen, who in 2010 became Peru’s first Winter Olympian.
“These two skiers are what the Olympics are about,” said Cologna. “They represent more than just themselves or a country. They represent the spirit of the games, to compete at the highest level and to do it with a purpose of bettering the lives of others, a hand shake at the finish line is not enough.”
Sherpa is skiing for the youth of Nepal, to help show them that a life of success and accomplishment can be found through sport.
“A life can be changed if you put your mind to anything you want,” Sherpa said. “I am here to show the youth of Nepal and any other young person that no matter the situation you find yourself in, that your life can change if you dedicate yourself to a cause.”
Sherpa also spoke of his goals to the French Press.
“I have taken four months off work [as a bricklayer] and skied every single day since December to train for this event,” Sherpa told the Agence France-Presse (AFP), “but I’m not perfect. I think there is a very big chance I will finish last. But the placing is not important if I can teach young people in Nepal about the Olympic spirit. This spirit is in my heart.”
Sherpa, finished the race second to last in a time of 55:39 and joined Cologna at the finish line to wait for Carcelen to cross.
Eleven minutes later, Carcelen emerged into the stadium to a standing ovation from the crowd. Two weeks prior to the Winter Olympics, Carcelen suffered a broken rib in an accident but vowed to still compete in the games.
Hugs and handshakes were offered from each of the racers showing that the Olympics once again are more than just gold medals, they are about the spirit of the games that burns in every single Olympic flame that burns brightly.
Sherpa (91) embraces Carcelen post race Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters