First-time Olympian Isaiah Jewett loves watching anime. In fact, he tries to live by the example of his favorite characters.
Jewett said he has learned many lessons from Japanese animations and cartoons. And he was able to embody all of that while demonstrating the Olympic spirit during the men’s 800-meter semifinals in the Tokyo Olympics.
Jewett was in the third position, and Nijel Amos of Botswana was fourth as runners approached the final turn. A few seconds later, both fell hard on the track.
That’s when Jewett displayed true sportsmanship. He helped Amos get up, shook his hand, then put his arm over his opponent’s shoulder as they walked toward the finish line. They came in 54 seconds behind the winner.
Amos let Jewett finish a step ahead of him. But where they finished didn’t matter much at the time. What’s important is that they finished the race without harboring hard feelings for each other.
As easy as he made it look, Jewett admitted that he was devastated over what happened.
“I was super frustrated, I was so mad because I felt like I had a chance. And I learned from like from all the superhero anime I watch, regardless of how mad you are, you have to be a hero at the end of the day,” he said.
“And that was my version of trying to be a hero, standing up and up and showing good character even if it’s my rival or whoever I’m racing, or if anything happened.”
It wasn’t clear what caused them to fall, but Jewett said he felt as if he had been hit in the back of his heel. That threw him off his stride and caused his legs to tangle. He fell after that. He also remembered hitting his head as well.
Amos, who also didn’t know what happened, immediately apologized.
“He’s like, ‘Sorry,’” Jewett recalled. “I said, ‘It’s OK, man.”
“I found myself down,” Amos said. “But at the end of the day, that’s the sport, and that’s the 800. That’s what makes it interesting, isn’t it?”
Jewett filed a protest and hoped that officials would consider his case and qualify for him for the final. However, he remained out. Meanwhile, Amos was advanced to the next round by the referee.
But even before the ruling on his protest, Jewett said he’s “super blessed” because not many people get to be in his position.
But not finishing the race, even after falling, wasn’t an option for Jewett.
“That’s what heroes do,” he said. “They show their humanity through who they are and show that they’re good people.”
Jewett’s family said there was nothing surprising about his reaction.
His sister, Victorya Jewett, said her brother showed he is a “human being first and an athlete second.”
“A true test of a man is his character. And, Isaiah showed true character,” his mother, Venus Jewett, said. “He’s just a good guy. He’s so lovable. He’s so caring.”
Although Jewett’s gold-medal dreams are over, his mom is very proud of him.
“My son that I raised here in Inglewood is an Olympian,” she said. “How does it feel? I’m ecstatic. I’m on top of the world.”
Lamont Marcell Jacobs of Italy ended up winning the men’s 100-meter race in 9.8 seconds, making history as the first man other than Jamaica’s Usain Bolt to win the gold medal in the event since 2004. American Fred Kerley came in next, finishing at 9.84 seconds. Andre De Grasse from Canada won bronze in 9.89 seconds.
Watch the unforgettable Olympic moment below:
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 1, 2021