Nicole Cochran, a young outstanding middle distance runner from Bellarmine Prep was running in the 3,200-meter race in the Washington Class 4A State Girls Track & Field Championship Meet at Pasco.
Cochran won the event in 10:36, beating Shadle Park’s Andrea Nelson by 3 seconds. Thirty minutes later, race officials disqualified Cochran, ruling that the Harvard-bound runner ran 3 consecutive steps inside the lane adjacent to hers. Bellarmine Prep Coach Matt Ellis appealed the infraction, but his appeal was denied. Everyone knew that Cochrane had not stepped into the next lane and that the officials were wrong.
In a magical sportsmanship moment when the official 3,200 race winner Andrea Nelson was awarded her first place medal at the podium, she moments later gave her first place medal to Cochran. Redmond’s Sarah Lord followed by giving Nelson her second-place medal, and the other medal winners followed suit. Somewhat reminiscent of the Britain’s Gold medalist fencer, Judy Guinness at the 1932 LA Olympic when she refused her gold medal because officials had missed her opponent’s scores.
Some days later – the officials, having studied the video tapes rescinded their decision and officially awarded Cochran the gold medal. Congrats to Nelson, Lord and the other young lady who felt honour was more important than metal.
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