Philip Boit is met on the finish line by Bjorn Daehlie
Kenyan cross country skier Philip Boit has gained the respect of his fellow Olympians, despite coming a resounding last amongst the finishers of the 10km cross country race (note that he finished ahead of six skiers who gave up during the race).
The 26-year-old Kenyan, who only saw snow for the first time two years ago, finished the course in 47 minutes 25.25 seconds, almost exactly 20 minutes slower than the gold medallist Bjorn Daehlie (who had enough time to do post-race interviews and clean his skis before heading to the finish line to wait for Boit).
When Daehlie met Boit at the finish line, Daehlie urged him to pursue his career. "He deserves to be encouraged. It was hard for him but he never gave up," said Daehlie, who had just made Winter Olympic history by winning his sixth gold medal.
Boit, who missed two weeks of training when he had to go into hospital last month with a stomach complaint, was fortunate not to be disqualified when he broke into a skating style on the uphill sections.
Course officials followed him home and he broke into an arm-pumping display of energy as the Japanese fans cheered him home over the last 200 metres.
"My goal, my aim, is to become a world or Olympic champion. I'm dreaming about becoming the first African to do it. I will do it," he said.
"When you start something you have to give your best and by competing against all these great champions I get experience, I learn their secrets".