Canadian race-walker turns down chance to win an Olympic medal by appeal

Evan Dunfee finished in fourth place in the men's 50-kilometre walk

Canadian race-walker turns down chance to win an Olympic medal by appeal

Picture by: Robert F. Bukaty / AP/Press Association Images

While most Irish eyes were focusing on London 2012 bronze medallist Rob Heffernan during Friday's 50-kilometre walk, Canada's Evan Dunfee was battling it out for a medal.

The 25-year-old finished in fourth place, 40 seconds behind Matej Toth, but was moved up to third place when Japan's Hirooki Arai was disqualified after the race.

Arai and Dunfee clashed inside the final kilometre, before the Japanese athlete moved clear. He finished 14 seconds ahead of the Canadian.

Dunfee was briefly Canada's first Olympic medallist in the discipline, before Arai's disqualification was reversed. The British Colombia athlete could have appealed the decision to reverse the disqualification, and give himself an opportunity, but in a statement released by Athletics Canada, he revealed why he turned down the chance.

"Not many people can understand the pain athletes are in three and a half hours into such a gruelling race. I believe that both the Japanese athlete and myself got tangled up but what broke me was that I let it put me off mentally and once I lost that focus, my legs went to jello. Contact is part of our event, whether written or unwritten and is quite common, and I don’t believe that this was malicious or done with intent.  Even if an appeal to CAS were successful I would not have been able to receive that medal with a clear conscience and it isn’t something I would have been proud of."

"I will sleep soundly tonight, and for the rest of my life, knowing I made the right decision. I will never allow myself to be defined by the accolades I receive, rather the integrity I carry through life."

Dunfee's decision must by applauded. Why be an Olympic medallist if you feel you didn't deserve it. Many athletes in all sports can learn from the Canadian's stance.