In an earlier post, I talked about sportsmanship in a negative way. Typical examples include strategically making a comment to get into your opponent's head or moving in the middle of her swing to distract her. Moves that won't make you new friends, and certainly damage a business relationship if intentionally done to a client or a prospect.
Today we learn a story about sportsmanship in the spirit of fair play. Shawn Crawford, a sprinter in the Olympics, received the silver medal in a race, even though he finished the race in fourth place. The second place runner was disqualified because he ran outside of his lane, as was the third place finisher. Crawford decided because the third-place runner was 10 meters (or nearly 11 yards) ahead of him that he deserved the medal. "He was going to beat me anyway. He didn't impede in anybody's race," explained Crawford.
Crawford received the silver medal during the ceremony. Without calling a press conference, he left the medal for the third-place runner at the runner's hotel. You can imagine his surprise.
An equivalent in golf of such sportsmanship would be to disqualify yourself because you violated a Rule of Golf. I still remember David Toms disqualifying himself from the 2005 British Open because he wasn't sure if he hit a moving ball when he tapped in his putt. Only he knew of the possible violation, yet he took himself out of the tournament.
These are favorable ways of being a competitor, and I wish more people were like that. Crawford and Toms are not playing to win at any cost, including their integrity and honor. They're competing in the game, while doing what's fair and right. I wish more competitors (also politicians and CEOs) would do the same.