Comm Games cycling delivers a gold medal – and a life lesson

Analysis – Yes, the good guy finished second, but Sam Gaze‘s outburst was also understandable, writes Sports Editor Stephen Hewson.

Photo: Andrew Cornaga / Photosport

Yes Sam Gaze was a bit of a dork.

Giving your teamate the middle finger, in the middle of a race is not a good look but it‘s hardly a hanging offence.

Labelling Anton Cooper unsportsmanlike – again not good, especially when you have turned around and won gold. It simply says more about you as a person.

The real winner from all of this is silver medallist Anton Cooper. But I understand where Gaze was coming from.

In his mind he felt had been let down by Cooper.

Just as they were embarking on the final 4.5km lap of the mountain bike cross country Gaze suffered a puncture.

He and Cooper had led the race from the outset with South African Alan Hartherly also in the mix.

No doubt Cooper and Gaze were working as a pair, just as they did in Glasgow four years, when they won gold and silver.

Gaze seemed to think that would mean stopping and helping one another should a mechanical problem beset one of them.

Cooper obviously didn‘t see it that way, and rather than having a crack back at Gaze following his abusive gesture and disparaging remarks he quite rightly asked ‘what was I supposed to do – let the South African ride away to gold?‘

Gaze should be thanking Cooper. For obviously the anger he felt motivated him to mow down Cooper in the dying stages of the race and reverse the Glasgow result.

For four years Gaze has no doubt been plotting how to go one better on the Gold Coast, and when he thought he was seeing that chance slip away he was understandably emotional.

Too emotional but obviously very passionate about winning and what it meant to him.

Yes he‘s overeacted. But it‘s moments like these we also get to see people‘s true character.

Who of us has not overeacted in times of pressure?

Gaze said post race ‘the good guy‘ won.

Unfortunately, Sam may have won, but on this occassion there‘s no doubting ‘the good guy‘ came second.

Hopefully he comes away from these Games not only with the gold medal, but a little wiser.

Because he deserves to be remembered for a staggeringly good effort in the race and providing a one-two finish for New Zealand, which will go down as a highlight of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.