‘A noble choice’: Cedric Dubler’s Olympic act recognised with sportsmanship award | Australia sport

It was one of the most memorable moments of the Tokyo Games and Cedric Dubler’s act of sportsmanship on the athletics track has now been officially recognised with an Australian Olympic Committee award.

Dubler sacrificed his own race in the closing stages of the 1,500m, the final event of the decathlon, to scream encouragement at Australian teammate Ash Moloney, who needed to cross the finish line close enough to a rival to secure a historic medal.

With Dubler urging him on, Moloney pushed through the pain barrier to secure bronze and become the first Australian decathlete to win an Olympic medal. He said afterwards: “I could hear his [Dubler’s] voice bouncing in my cranium like a bat out of hell.”

It was acknowledged on Tuesday with the AOC’s inaugural Cecil Healy Award for Outstanding Sportsmanship displayed at an Olympic Games.

“In the closing stages, Cedric had no other thought, other than the possibility for his teammate winning an Olympic medal,” AOC chief executive Matt Carroll said. “He could have easily chosen to improve his own standing in the event, but he made another choice and it was a noble one.”

The award was created in August 2018 in memory of Cecil Healy, whose act of sportsmanship at the 1912 Games in Stockholm was widely commended.

The Australian swimmer insisted 100m favourite Duke Kahanamoku be allowed to contest the final, despite the American missing his semi-final due to an apparent mix-up. Healy’s stance led to officials holding a special semi-final to include Kahanamoku, who duly went on to win gold in the final. Healy won silver.

“I am absolutely honoured and really quite amazed that something that happened in the moment can result in this type of recognition,” Dubler said. “We don’t compete at the Olympic Games thinking about these moments. Every athlete just wants to do their best and performance is the focus.

“The camaraderie amongst decathletes is something very special, but I also felt a really strong bond within our Australian team in Tokyo.

“I am still stunned that my spontaneous decision to urge him on struck such a chord around the world. I definitely can’t compare my actions with those of Cecil Healy, but I am immensely proud to be the first Australian to win this award, named in his honour.”

Dubler will be formally honoured with the presentation of a special medal at the AOC’s AGM next month.