Friday, February 3, 2012

Some Medals are Pinned to Your Soul

Bartali Honoured For Saving Jews During The Holocaust | Cyclingnews.com
A fellow cyclist shared this article about Gino Bartali, the Italian champion cyclist and winner of the Giro d'Italia in 1936, 1937 and 1946 and the Tour de France in 1938 and 1948.  Apparently Yad VaShem is researching whether he also deserves recognition as one of the Righteous of the Nations, those who worked to save Jews from the World War II Nazi death machine.  His long rides were not the apparent training rides that others thought them to be but instead efforts to smuggle documents to Jews seeking to escape.  These documents were hidden in his bicycle.  It is also reported that at least on one such occasion he led Jews across the Alps himself.  Explaining it as part of his training he pulled a wagon behind his bicycle with a secret compartment holding Jewish refugees.  His efforts helped to save the lives of 800 Jews.  His only public comment about these efforts was the statement: "Good is something you do, not something you talk about. Some medals are pinned to your soul, not to your jacket."  He died in May 2000.

Let that be a temper to my competitive spirit and my efforts to ride faster and farther.

And the next time I get up out of my saddle and try to muscle up a climb I should remember to use the derailleur instead and shift to an easier gear.  It is the derailleur that Bartali also helped to pioneer.

I  must remember that refining the soul is always better, and far more important, than polishing any trophy.

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