While Kjeld Nuis had the gold medal around his neck in speedskating, he should pay Mika Poutala a royalty.
Nuis already won the gold in the 1,500 meters and he was looking to add another gold medal in the 1,000 meters.
His chances were not good, however, in the final straightaway as he was trailing Poutala. The Finnish skater could have blocked Nuis on the crossover. However, he realized then that he couldn’t win a medal and so he gave way.
The gesture to stay on the left and allow Nuis a clear path in the middle was praised by analysts as the illustration of the Olympic spirit.
“Mika Poutala just saved my life,” Nuis told reporters afterward. “If he would have thrown himself in front of me, I would have been the fool. He didn’t. That is so beautiful.”
The Dutchman finished 1 minute, 07.91 seconds, or 0.04 faster than Norwegian Harvard Lorentzen. The bronze went to Kim Tae-Yun of South Korea. For his efforts, Poutala finished 16th in the race because his decision to give way slowed him down.
Nuis said that he was just happy he accomplished his goal of taking the gold in the 1,000 and 1,500 meters.
The Dutchman also shared how Poutala came up to him after the race and said, “I just did what I hope someone else would do for me.”
On his Twitter account, Poutala also thanked his supporters and also his wife, Sanni, for their never-ending support. He wrote, “My 4th #olympics were a success even though I did not get a medal. But I was able to give my best effort racing and also outside competition.”