The Winter Olympics is the pinnacle event in the careers of athletes from all over the globe, fighting it out for the ultimate glory of an Olympic medal on the snow and ice.
Countries that often excel in these games include Sweden, Norway, Russia, Germany, Canada, the USA and this time around, Peru. Peru? Yes Peru. The birthplace of Paddington bear and one of the hottest countries on earth doesn’t necessarily have the characteristics that say ‘Winter Olympic competitors’.
But what it does have, is cross-country skier in Roberto Carcelen. The 43-year-old was the first Peruvian to ever compete in a Winter Olympic Games, in Vancouver 2010 and this year he returned in Sochi.
Despite a broken rib, sustained in training just a couple of weeks before, Carcelen was determined to compete in the event he took up only nine years ago.
Skiing through the hills around Sochi, Carcelen steadily fell behind the rest of the competitors, but when he crossed the line 11 minutes after anyone else, he got the biggest cheer of the day, as the Olympic spirit shone through.
Coming into the final straight, the Seattle resident was greeted by a standing ovation from the crowd, and collected a Peruvian flag from the watching public before finishing the race with as big a smile as any of the medal winners.
The 15km Cross Country race was won by Switzerland’s Dario Cologna, in a time of 38 minutes and 19 seconds.
Like many of the racers in this event, the champion collapsed to the snow after crossing the line, and you would have been excused for thinking that he would want to find a masseuse and some rest and relaxation.
He was the Olympic Gold medallist remember. But this was not the case with the 27-year-old, as he was the second man to greet Carcelen after the Peruvian crossed the line 28 minutes after the Swiss star.
This iconic and heartfelt moment will go down as one of the greatest images from this Olympics. The most expensive Games in history, which have been shrouded in controversy from the beginning, has given the athletes the platform to show just how important the Olympic ideology is.
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