The place? Los Angeles, California. The event? The Olympic Games. Contestants line up for the starting gun and then race down the track at full speed. Around and around they go, the lead changing hands several times. Then the fastest runner breaks the tape, and the crowd roars. The second-, third-, and fourth-place runners speed by as well.
Back in the pack, other runners break ranks and head for the showers. The race is over.
But who is that man on the back course, struggling along, running on tired and trembling legs? It’s the contestant from the Philippines, thousands of miles from home. He’d come to race and wasn’t going to quit until he’d completed the course. When he crossed the finish line, a tumultuous roar of respect and admiration rose from the bleachers.
The place? Indianapolis, Indiana. The event? The 1912 Indianapolis 500 motor race. DePalma has the lead and is holding it steadily. One car jumps the track. Another breaks a piston ring. Yet another burns a crankshaft, while others blow tires. It looks like DePalma’s got the race sewn up in two laps.
But what’s this? His car is slowing. Dawson flashes past. Then Tetzlaff. Then Merz. DePalma’s car has stopped on the track less than a mile from the finish. That’s when the spectators see something most unusual. DePalma gets behind his car and with the aid of his mechanic pushes it toward the line. When he inches across, the crowd explodes in uproarious acclaim.
Neither DePalma nor the Filipino runner won his race. But they won hearts by their dogged determination to finish what they started. They truly became winning losers.