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Cross-country winner congratulates Peruvian last-place finisher at finish

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Roberto Carcelen carries his nation's flag across the finish line. (USATSI)
Roberto Carcelen carries his nation's flag across the finish line. (USATSI)

In 2010, cross-country skier Roberto Carcelen made history as Peru's first Winter Olympian ... and finished 94th. So a substantial improvement in Sochi seemed possible, at least until Carcelen suffered broken and bruised ribs in a training crash only days before the Games.

But Carcelen vowed to compete in Friday's classic 15-kilometer race all the same, and wound up coming in dead last among all skiers who finished, nearly 11 minues behind the next-to-last finisher, 86th-place Dachhiri Sherpa of Nepal.

But Carcelen got his proverbial Olympic moment all the same. After picking up a Peruvian flag and waving it as the Russian crowd cheered him across the line, Carcelen found both Sherpa and another co-competitor waiting to congratulate him: no less than the race's winner, now two-time Sochi gold medalist Dario Cologna of Switzerland. Cologna had finished his race nearly half an hour earlier, but was still on hand -- uniform and all -- to shake Carcelen's hand.

Via USA Today Sports, here's Carcelen receiving a hug from Sherpa:

It was a nice moment for the Seattle-based Carcelen, and maybe for Peru as well, after an apparent rift developed between Carcelen and his two Peruvian teammates, German-born alpine skiers Manfred and Ornella Oettl Reyes. Carcelen -- the nation's flag-bearer -- and the siblings have offered differing accounts of why the Reyeses did not wear the appointed Peruvian uniform during the Opening Ceremonies, Peru This Week reported.

Video of Carcelen's congratulations from Cologna is here, and from Seattle's King5, here's their report on his injury and send-off:

 
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