Jani Tanskannen, World Champion gymnast emphasizes mutual respect in elite sport.
Jani Tanskanen of Finland attends the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games as an Athlete Role Model. He has a lot to contribute and the young competitors can learn the spirit of sportsmanship from him.
“Fair play is extremely important in sport. Top athletes know it very well that mutual respect is an essential part of their behaviour on and off the sporting field. When I competed at the World Gymnastics Championships in 2001 I qualified for the final. Nevertheless, I was aware that the judges had awarded me more points than I had deserved. As they did not change their decision, I withdrew from the final due to injury. I was not injured in fact. I just wanted to give the opportunity to my fellow competitor who was in a much better shape than I to participate in the final. Nobody knew that. I believe that by the time you become an elite level athlete, you will have faced all the difficulties a professional sportsman should overcome. That is the reason why we all appreciate each other’s performance.”
Learn more about fair play at the International Fair Play Committee’s website.