Analysis: Ignore Evans/Cisse spitting row, sportsmanship is alive and well

It’s unbelievable but when it comes to sport the art of sportsmanship can be rather contentious.

In an industry where millions of pounds are on the line, and not to mention millions of eyes being cast, doing the right thing can sometimes be lost.

But for every bad showing of sportsmanship, like Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse’s recent spitting incident, there’s a showing of good. A moment which makes us stand and applaud.

From Paolo Di Canio to Lutz Long, MM take a look at some of the finest showings of sportsmanship in sports history.

Another Di Canio moment of madness

Di Canio is a man known for his hot head. He’s a player that has pushed over a referee, and sat down on a pitch demanding to be substituted. But despite it all, he’s perhaps most well-known for an incredible moment of sportsmanship against Everton in 2001.

After Toffees keeper Paul Gerrard came sliding out to make a tackle, dislocating his knee, it left West Ham open to attack. The ball was floated across to Di Canio but rather than nod it in to an open goal, the Italian caught it.

It earned the player the FIFA Fair Play Award, and will forever go down in history as a special Premier League moment.

Freddie consoles Brett Lee

It’s one of the most iconic photographs in Ashes history and typifies the class and dignity of the gentleman’s game.



In 2005, England and Australia competed in one of the most thrilling Ashes series of all time, but it was at Edgbaston where we saw Flintoff offer the hand of consolation and only add to his cult hero status.

Of course today if they were playing, it’d likely be the other way round with England on the back of a few beatings from the Aussies, and this summer is likely to be no different, with 32 Red Sport putting Michael Clarke and co. odds on to win.

But for England fans, they’ll always have that moment. Lee called Flintoff “an absolute beauty” following the all-rounders retirement. And we’d agree.

Jack Nicklaus concedes missable putt

Jack Nicklaus is a hero of golf. The greatest golfer ever to grace the greens. And nothing sums him up more than his moment of class in the 1969 Ryder Cup.

With Nicklaus and Jacklin on the final hole with the match tied at 16 apiece, Nicklaus conceded Jacklin’s final putt – one that could have been missed – to tie the Ryder Cup for the first time in its 42-year history.

Nicklaus told Jacklin: “I don’t think you would have missed that putt, but in these circumstances I would never give you the opportunity.”

It marked a lasting friendship between the two which would even inspire their joint design effort at The Concession Golf Club in Florida.

Lutz’s long jump advice

In 1936, Nazi Germany was in full flow, and Adolf Hitler was to put on an Olympics in Berlin which would promote racial supremacy, although that wasn’t to be the case.

They were a Games famous for Jesse Owens, the man who won four gold medals, but few people know that Owens puts his long jump gold down to a great gesture from German long-jumper Lutz Long.

With Owens fouling on his first two jumps, Long advised him to jump from several inches before the take-off board in order to progress. He did, and went on to win gold, pushing Long into silver position.

The pair walked arm-in-arm to the dressing room, with Owens stating: “It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler.

“You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a plating on the twenty-four karat friendship that I felt for Lutz Long at that moment.”

Main image courtesy of BBC via YouTube, with thanks.

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