SOCHI, RUSSIA -- I was standing in the mixed zone on Tuesday afternoon at the cross-country venue waiting to interview Kikkan Randall about her disappointing performance in the sprint free race.
The mixed zone is an area where media stand behind railings and interview athletes after their competition is complete. They have TVs at most mixed zones so media can watch the event because there is no press box in some of these venues.
As we waited, we watched the men's semifinals in the sprint race. At some point in the race, Russian Anton Gafarov fell and broke a ski. He refused to quit, though. Gafarov tried to basically shuffle/limp to the finish with only one working ski.
Then he tumbled again. At that point, a coach came onto the course and gave Gafarov a new ski so he could finish the race. We just assumed it was his personal coach.
Gafarov finished to a standing ovation, well after his competitors had crossed the finish line.
Today, we found out about the man who helped Gafarov. He wasn't a Russian coach after all. Here's a story about his cool gesture.