February 12, 2014 11:50 am
Updated: March 18, 2014 9:27 am

Canada’s cross-country ski coach rushes to help Russia’s Anton Gafarov after fall

Russia's Anton Gafarov reacts falls in the Men's Cross-Country Skiing Individual Sprint Free Semifinals at the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 11, 2014 in Rosa Khutor near Sochi.

Alberto Pizzoli/Getty Images

TORONTO – In true Olympic spirit, Canada’s head cross-country ski coach Justin Wadsworth rushed to help a Russian skier after the athlete crashed in the semi-final of the men’s freestyle sprint and broke one of his skis.

Cross-country skier Anton Gafarov tumbled on the course for the third time Tuesday as he was heading down the hill toward the finish line. With a new ski in hand, Wadsworth rushed toward the struggling athlete and fixed the new ski to Gafarov’s ski boot.

READ MORE: Athletes helping rival athletes – 5 examples of true sportsmanship

The crowd burst into cheers as Gafarov finished in a distant last place.

Russian skier Anton Gafarov (20) competes in men’s cross-country skiing (sprint) finals at at the Laura Ski Centre at the 22nd Winter Olympic Games.

TAR-TASS / Stanislav Krasilnikov

Russia’s Anton Gafarov falls with a broken ski during his men’s semifinal of the cross-country sprint at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

Russia’s Anton Gafarov falls with a broken ski during his men’s semifinal of the cross-country sprint at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

Russia’s Anton Gafarov is helped by Canada’s cross-country coach Justin Wadsworth after crashing in the men’s cross-country skiing sprint free semifinals during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 11, 2014 in Rosa Khutor near Sochi. Wadsworth was applauded for showing the true spirit of the Olympics when he helped Gafarov to finish after breaking a ski in a crash.

Getty Images/Kirill Kudryavtsev

Video of Wadsworth’s act of kindness quickly spread across the Internet with many people around the world praising him for his sportsmanship.

But this could be the ultimate story of “paying it forward.”

During the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino the director of cross-country skiing in Norway, Bjornar Hakensmoen, assisted Canadian cross-country skier Sara Renner when her pole broke during the third lap of a six lap relay. Hakensmoen gave Renner his pole and the Canadians came in a close second behind Sweden (Norway came in fourth).

WATCH: Justin Wadsworth discusses his act of sportsmanship and the good karma he hopes will rub off for Team Canada

Renner’s partner during the competition was Beckie Scott, who just happens to be Wadsworth’s wife.

Wadsworth – a former U.S. cross-country ski team member – was born in La Jolla, California, and trained in Seattle.  He was named head coach of the Canadian cross-country ski team in 2010.

CLICK HERE FOR OUR FULL 2014 WINTER OLYMPICS COVERAGE

Global News

© Shaw Media, 2014

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