Olympic medals aren’t exactly easy to come by, so the last thing you would expect an athlete to do is give one away for free.
But that’s exactly what South African rugby sevens star Francois Hougaard did with his bronze medal, handing it to a man he deemed to “deserve it more.”
South Africa captured the bronze medal in the rugby sevens in Rio with a 54–14 victory over Japan on Thursday, but the team was missing a player at the podium.
Seabelo Senatla, one of the nation’s key players, went down with an injured wrist in Wednesday’s 22–5 quarterfinal victory over Australia and was unable to compete in the next two matches.
After South Africa was able to overcome the loss of Senatla to finish third in the sevens, one of his teammates, Francois Hougaard, decided he would part with his medal and give it to him.
To his credit, it was an offering that Senatla initially turned down.
“It’s only fair. If the other guys come in it means that my name is taken off the list and they have to be there,” Senatla told Sport24 after being left off the medal dais.
“Hougie (Hougaard) wanted to give it to me … I was like ‘No, no … you keep it. Your name is on the list.’
“He’s a very good guy and he wanted to give it to me. It’s a procedure so I only think it’s right. It doesn’t matter how much time I got or how much time he played … at the end of the day that’s how it went.”
Despite Senatla’s admirable stance he found his hands on the bronze medal before the team jetted back home.