The Olympic spirit makes rare appearance

OLYMPIC SPIRIT: A Canadian coach came to the rescue of a Russian cross-country skier with a broken ski.
OLYMPIC SPIRIT: A Canadian coach came to the rescue of a Russian cross-country skier with a broken ski.

Russian Anton Gafarov was limping along on one ski, falling repeatedly, when an act of pure sportsmanship from a competing coach saw him across the line.

The early favourite at the Sochi Winter Olympics had crashed and broken a ski, and looked like he might not finish the men's cross-country race at all.

Canadian coach Justin Wadsworth, whose athletes had all been eliminated early, was watching on. He couldn't stand it.

He took a spare ski and ran on to the track and replaced Gafarov's broken ski.

"It was like watching an animal stuck in a trap. You can't just sit there and do nothing about it," Wadsworth told The Toronto Star.

"I wanted him to have dignity as he crossed the finish line."

The Russian coaches looked on.

Gafarov finished a distant last, visibly devastated, but the crowd roared.

Fairfax Media