LONDON — Canadian Simon Whitfield dreams of London Olympic gold literally came crashing down this week.
The defending silver medalist in the men's triathlon, he said his bike hit a "speed bump" early in the cycling stage in Hyde Park. The damage both to the bike and the athlete necessitated his pulling out of the race.
During the crash, his bike made contact with that of Leonardo Chacon of Costa Rica, clipping his front wheel and taking him out of the race briefly. Chacon was No. 18 overall coming out of the water; at the end of the cycling leg, he was No. 33 before finishing 48th overall, out of 54 athletes who finished the race.
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The day after the Olympic triathlon, Chacon felt compelled to reach out to Whitfield on Facebook — to express his feelings on the crash, and to let the four-time Olympian know what an inspiration he was to his competitors through the years.
Oh, and to invite him to Costa Rica.
As of Friday morning, the post had been "liked" nearly 7,000 times on Facebook.
Via Twitter, Whitfield acknowledged he read the message and felt humbled. Also: "I happened to 'bump' into Leandro in the Village. What a class act. We hugged it out."
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