Méntrida "I stood up, he deserved it"
(Alcobendas, 1999) continues to smoke two weeks later. While he is co-pilot in the car of the person who wrote these lines, in search of
(Leicester, United Kingdom, 1996), he receives a new call from a regional television to talk about his great gesture in the Santander triathlon. Yes, from that moment in which he decided to wait for the British after seeing how he collided with a fence (after being confused) a few meters from the goal, giving up a position in e
The podium, an act that has gone around the world as an example of sportsmanship.
Taking advantage of their participation in the Bilbao triathlon (Spanish medium distance championship) on Saturday, EL MUNDO proposes that they get together to talk about what happened in Santander and everything that has happened since.
They, still exhausted from the effort of the previous day, happily accept and chat like two good friends, which is what they have become almost overnight.
It has a lot of merit that you finished third (this Saturday).
It was a race with a high level and at a distance, the half Ironman, for which we are still very young.
What you did is very complicated.
- Well, we really weren't very far from each other [Méntrida was 10th] and there was a moment when I saw you behind me and I thought: 'Oh no, it's going to happen again!'.
No, it couldn't have happened again.
I was too sore, I couldn't follow you in the race like I could in Santander before you made the mistake.
There was a giant red sign that said Santander and I thought the goal was there.
I thought you had to turn at some point to get to that sign and I was wrong.
At that time he didn't even know where the goal was.
There was no vertical reference to what the ending was, just a white line painted on the ground, maybe that's what led you to the mistake.
At that moment I assumed that I had made a mistake and that I had lost third place, because you were just behind.
And also that it was part of the race.
During the entire last lap you were ahead of me and I tried to catch up with you, but I had no legs.
I assumed that I was going to be fourth and when I saw you make a mistake I immediately thought that it was not me who deserved to be third, but you.
I didn't have much time to think, but in my head I was already fourth, so I stopped.
It is very easy to assess the situation when you see it on video, but at the moment it is not so easy.
He couldn't even give you time to think, it was something instinctive on your part.
That shows that you are a person and an athlete of integrity, because it came naturally to you.
Most of the time, if you're wrong, it's your problem and you have to deal with it.
But I think this case was different, because you had been better than me throughout the test.
I didn't even have time to think if stopping was the right thing to do or not.
I just stopped when I looked back and saw you.
You already know that in triathlon it is relatively common to see this type of gesture, it is part of our day to day, but they are almost never recorded on video.
It is something typical of our sport, because there is great respect between us.
We train very hard, with a lot of dedication and we respect each other a lot for it.
We know the sacrifice the other is making.
Even though we hardly know each other by sight, as was the case.
I think we only met in Boiro last year, in the national team championship.
We compete together, but I don't think we ever even talked.
Normally I don't compete much in Spain, I knew your name, but we didn't have a personal relationship.
And after this, we have been in permanent contact for two weeks, which have been crazy.
When I spoke with EL MUNDO, I thought it was going to stay there, but immediately it began to appear in all the newspapers, televisions ... And then outside of Spain!
It was very unexpected.
After the test, I thanked you and we continued with our lives normally.
But a few days later, a friend told me that he had appeared on EL MUNDO and sent me the video.
At that moment I realized that it was going to become something important, with a lot of repercussion.
Then Will Smith echoed the video and the thing exploded.
The next day, I had calls from all the British media and some Spanish ones.
In the newspapers, the headlines were about coronavirus, about Brexit and above that about the Santander triathlon.
It was crazy, but it is paying off, because it highlights the spirit of our sport.
In sports media they do talk about triathlon relatively often, but in generalists it is very unusual.
And it is very positive that, as a result of all this, triathlon is being talked about all over the world.
It is something that does not happen every day.
I hope that it is something inspiring for children, so that they act in their life in that way and that the next generation have sportsmanship and integrity.
Hope that's what's left of this.
Many people are sending us messages in which they thank us for the example, saying that they are going to teach it to their children, so that they can share it with their classmates.
It is the best part of it.
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