N.L. boy sends personal medal to disqualified men's track team
Published Wednesday, August 15, 2012 4:44PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 15, 2012 8:06PM EDT
The Canadian men’s Olympic 4x100-metre relay team may have lost out on a bronze medal, but one young Newfoundland boy decided the team was still worthy of decoration.
Like so many fans across the country, 10-year-old Elijah Porter’s heart broke after watching Saturday’s disappointing race, in which the Canadian runners were disqualified because one of the team members had stepped on a lane line.
After seeing the race, Porter knew he wanted to do something. So the young boy decided to send the team a letter of support, and in that letter he included the only medal he’s ever won.
Porter told CTV News Channel that his reason for sending the letter and his prize – a red-ribboned Tim Hortons “Timbits” soccer medal – was simple.
“I’m just thinking that I really wanted to help them, so I just did it,” he said.
Porter said he felt disappointed by the rules that disqualified the team and thought his words of support might help.
“I wanted to show them that no matter how much points we get when we’re doing summer sports, winter sports are our specialty,” he said. “And also we persevere and there are things people thought Canada could never do.”
Porter expresses these very sentiments in his letter.
In one part of the hand-written note, Porter writes: “When I heard what happened on Aug. 11, I knew it was wrong. The rules were not right. But at last I realized how good you were. We’re Canadians. We persevere.”
The letter continues: “We create better lives for each other. The cold didn’t stop us from living in the North. We didn’t lose the War of 1812. We adapt and survive.”
Since sending the letter and medal, relay team members Justyn Warner and Jared Connaughton have both contacted the young boy.
“They just said they were touched by what I did for them and made them feel good,” said Porter.
Team member Warner told CTV News Channel that the entire team was inspired by Porter’s heartfelt words.
“The letter and the medal were just inspiring. It’s so amazing for a kid, 10-years-old, to understand how we feel,” he said.
During his conversation with Porter, Warner said he encouraged the boy to go after his dreams.
“After our (disqualification) we were heartbroken and his words and support just gave us a reminder of why we work so hard to represent our country,” he said. “I just told him to always dream big and never discredit yourself in anything you do.”
Porter, who wants to become a biologist, said he will continue to support Canadian Olympians in the future by donating money to both summer and winter Olympic athletes.
However, the young boy hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility of pursuing his own Olympic dream.
“I’m planning on being a biologist, but you never know,” said Porter.
A Tim Hortons spokesperson said the company will be sending Porter another medal to replace the one he sent to the team, as well as a bicycle.