Jani Tanskannen, World Champion gymnast emphasizes mutual respect in elite sport
Jani Tanskannen of Finland attends the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games as an Athlete Role Model. He has a lot to contribute and the young competitors can learn the spirit of sportsmanship from him.
- "Fair play is extremely important in sport. Top athletes know it very well that mutual respect is an essential part of their behaviour on and off the sporting field. When I competed at the World Gymnastics Championships in 2001 I qualified for the final. Nevertheless, I was aware that the judges had awarded me more points than I had deserved. As they did not change their decision, I withdrew from the final due to injury. I was not injured in fact. I just wanted to give the opportunity to my fellow competitor who was in a much better shape than I to participate in the final. Nobody knew that. I believe that by the time you become an elite level athlete, you will have faced all the difficulties a professional sportsman should overcome. That is the reason why we all appreciate each other's performance."