Olympic relay team members visit boy who donated medal
Newfoundland youngster sent soccer medal to runners after London Games disqualification
Posted: Sep 11, 2012 10:02 AM NT
Last Updated: Sep 12, 2012 1:31 AM NT
The 10-year-old boy from Newfoundland who lifted the spirits of the Canadian men's Olympic 4x100-metre relay team after it was disqualified from a bronze-medal finish in London got a surprise visit on Tuesday from two members of the team.
Jared Connaughton and Seyi Smith paid a visit to Elijah Porter at his home in Paradise, N.L. on Tuesday to thank him in person for lifting the team members' spirits after the disqualification.
Connaughton, the third leg of the Canadian team, was disqualified at the London Games for stepping outside of his lane, after Canada had finished third behind the Jamaican and American teams.
Porter received national attention after he sent a letter of encouragement and his only medal, which he won for playing soccer, to the four athletes.
The boy was showered with praise and a replacement Timbits soccer medal for his good deed, but a local businessman thought Porter deserved something more, so he contacted the team about taking a surprise trip.
Athletes drop by Porter's house
Only Connaughton and Smith were able to make it to the province. Their teammates, Justyn Warner and Gavin Smellie, could not come due to travel disruptions caused by post-tropical storm Leslie.
Porter showed the athletes some of the memorabilia that was sent to him after news of his action travelled across the country, and he also got the athletes to look at a display on his bedroom bulletin board with newspaper clippings about the team.
'Stuff like you did makes it all okay.'—Jared Connaughton
While they examined the photos and stories on Porter's wall, Smith and Connaughton remembered the emotions they felt after the disqualification, and how Porter's letter and medal lifted their spirits.
"Stuff like you did makes it all okay," said Connaughton to Porter. "You're a good kid, man."
"Thank you for your kind gesture, you didn't have to send your medal like that but it was very kind of you and we cherish it."
Athletes gain perspective from visit
Smith, who studied engineering at university, and Connaughton, who studied history, leaned on a set of bunk beds, and chatted with Porter about his interest in science and history.
Connaughton said the visit was an opportunity for the athletes to get a bit of perspective on their lives as well.
"Just to kind of take a step back. We're so self-consumed as athletes, and then to be able to reach out to a fan is pretty neat."
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