In an act of sportsmanship following the disqualification of his competitor a New Jersey high school swimmer, Michael Spark, presented his Conference Championship first-place medal to the athlete he calls “its rightful owner.”

Spark finished second in the 100-yard backstroke race to Latvian-born Rich Fortels, who not only beat him by nearly three seconds but also broke a 14-year-old meet record in the event.

Problems arose later when officials noticed that the winner had worn a swim cap brandished with a swim club logo, which is illegal under the national rules. The medal was then given to the second place finisher.

“You beat me fair and square,” Spark said during a meeting with Fortels, attended by news media. “You broke the meet record and proved to everyone that you are the better athlete and the better swimmer.”

Despite officials rejecting an appeal from Fortels’ swimming coach, Greater Middlesex Conference president Carl Buffalino told, “Today, Michael is my hero, because he did what’s right.”

(WATCH the video above, or READ the full story at –Photo via news video

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