Feb. 14, 2014 -- Sometimes last place can feel just as good as first.
The last place finisher in the men’s cross country 15km classic race managed to grab the attention of the race spectators by his sheer perseverance.
At age 44 Roberto Carcelen, one of three athletes representing Peru, was competing with a broken rib and didn’t expect to medal in the race. But he did want to finish his race and managed to pull off that grueling feat by slogging through mushy snow for over an hour. He came in last and nearly 30 minutes behind the winner.
However, Carcelen wanted to represent his country with pride and for the last few meters carried a Peruvian flag, waving it to a cheering crowd as he crossed the finish line well after the other competitors.
At the finish line Carcelen was met by his competitor and the race winner Dario Cologna of Switzerland, who congratulated him on finishing the race.
Carcelen had suffered a broken rib after a fall during training in late January. While doctors recommended he stop competing for a few weeks, he ignored their advice in order to represent his country at the Olympics.
In a post from the day before the race Carcelen wrote that he expected the race to be difficult.
“It is going to be (as I mentioned before) a long and painful ordeal,” wrote Carcelen. “This has became a test of survival, one single fall can make the injuries worst or finish my skiing career earlier than the closing ceremony.”
However, Carcelen said after being asked by the press why he would still compete with a broken rib he cited his desire to be an inspiration for his country.
“I can only say: 'this is a great opportunity to shine light on children (or everyone) that need a good role model, a good example, an inspiring story,” wrote Carcelen."Quitting is not an option."