Käll brothers honoured for noblest of sacrifices
There was a new prize that emerged from these Games, and it couldn’t be won by coming first in any race. The Fair Play prize was initiated in 1964 to recognise outstanding acts of sportsmanship, and it continues to this day. In particular, it offers congratulation and recognition to those who have compromised their own performance in order to help others. Such was the case for Swedish brothers - Lars Gunnar Käll and Stig Lennart Käll.
The Käll brothers were competing in the Flying Dutchmen event in the sailing regatta, where points are awarded on the basis of finishing positions. But in one of their races, they were presented with an agonising choice – to pursue a medal, or rescue stranded rivals.
Australia’s Flying Dutchman team of John Dawe and Ian Winter had capsized and could not right their boat. It was clear they needed help but, rather than wait for others to provide it, the Käll brothers sprang to action. First they rescued Winter, who was in the water, and then they sailed over to the stricken boat. Dawe was clinging to its hull and he, too, was pulled into the safety of the Swedish vessel, named Hayama.
For both teams, it was the end of any dream of making the podium, but the admiration for the Swedish crew was felt around the world. Crews from New Zealand, Great Britain and the United States took the medals, but it was the actions of - Lars and Stig Käll that were remembered with every bit as much admiration.