Good sports

STEPHEN RIPLEY

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

Hockey commentators like to make a big deal about how all the players line up and shake hands after every playoff series. Somehow, this is supposed to show the high level of sportsmanship that exists in the NHL.

What a load of garbage.

Sportsmanship isn't something you do after the game, it's the way you conduct yourself before the final buzzer sounds. Seven games of elbowing, slashing, spearing and diving can't be erased by a single handshake. Just ask Martin Brodeur.

So even though they're widely considered good guys off the ice, you won't find any hockey players on this list of athletes who have exhibited great sportsmanship.

10. MARK WILSON

In the second round of the 2007 Honda Classic, Wilson hit a routine tee shot to the par-3 fifth green, after which playing partner Camilo Villegas asked his own caddie about the loft of the club Wilson had just used. Hearing this, Wilson's caddie said it was 18 degrees, a violation of Rule 8-1 which prohibits players -- or their caddies -- from giving advice to competitors. Wilson immediately summoned a rules official and called a two-stroke penalty on himself. Showing nice guys don't always finish last, Wilson went on to win the tournament in a four-way playoff.

9. MALLORY HOLTMAN

By now, most sports fans have seen the footage of Central Washington softball player Mallory Holtman carrying opponent Sara Tucholsky around the bases in a game last month. Having just hit the first home run of her career, Tucholsky was so excited that she missed first base, causing her to blow out her knee when she spun around to touch the bag. Unable to make it to home plate by herself, the badly injured player was incorrectly told by the umpire that her run wouldn't count if her teammates assisted her. So Holtman asked if it would be OK if the Central Washington players did the honours. The umpire agreed and Tucholsky's Western Oregon team went on to win 4-2.

8. LARRY LEMIEUX

On Sept. 24, 1988, Edmonton's Larry Lemieux was alone in the dangerous, wind-swept waters off Pusan, South Korea, sailing his way to a second-place finish in the fifth of seven Olympic Finn-class races. But the Canadian veered off course when two Singaporeans, competing in another class, capsized nearby and were unable to right their boat. Lemieux dragged the two injured sailors aboard and waited for help to arrive, effectively scuttling his hopes for an Olympic medal.

7. LEICESTER CITY

When Leicester defender Clive Clarke collapsed on the pitch midway through a second-round Carling Cup game against rival Nottingham Forest last year, the last thing anyone was concerned about was Forest's 1-0 lead. Although Clarke would eventually recover, his on-field heart failure caused the game to be abandoned and replayed three weeks later. Rather than capitalizing on their own player's misfortune, the Foxes allowed Forest's goalkeeper to walk the opening kickoff of the replay into their net, restoring the advantage. Leicester City then proceeded to come back and win the match 3-2.

6. ANDY RODDICK

The top seed in the 2005 Rome Masters tournament, Roddick appeared to be on his way to the quarter-finals when his opponent, Fernando Verdasco, double-faulted on triple match point. But rather than trotting up to the net and shaking hands, the American insisted Verdasco's serve had clipped the line. The umpire allowed Roddick's overrule and Verdasco went on win the match.

5. JACK NICKLAUS

Paired against Tony Jacklin in the final singles match of the 1969 Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale, Nicklaus conceded a two-foot putt to the Englishman on the 18th hole. If Jacklin had missed, the U.S. would have won the matches 161/2-151/2, but instead the event finished in a tie. Although the result allowed the Americans to retain the cup, U.S. captain Sam Snead was none too pleased with the Golden Bear's show of sportsmanship.

4. STIRLING MOSS

One of the greatest drivers of all time, Moss won 16 Formula One races, but never the world championship. His best shot came in 1958, when he battled fellow Englishman Mike Hawthorn down to the wire. At a race in Portugal that season, Moss interceded on Hawthorn's behalf to overturn his disqualification for driving backwards. With the second-place points he earned in Portugal, Hawthorn won the world championship by a single point over Moss.

3. TED WILLIAMS

Going into the final day of the 1941 season, Williams was hitting .3995, which would have rounded up to .400. But rather than protecting his historic average on the bench, Williams insisted on playing in an otherwise meaningless season-ending doubleheader, eventually going 6-for-8 to raise his average to .406. Throw in six years of uncomplaining military service during the heart of his career, as well as the 25% pay cut he insisted on after a subpar 1959 season, and you've got one of the greatest sportsmen who ever lived.

2. BOBBY JONES

Playing an 18-hole playoff against Scotland's Willie MacFarlane in the 1925 U.S. Open, Jones called a two-stroke penalty on himself for accidentally moving the ball during his address. This was despite the fact that nobody -- not MacFarlane, not the marshals, not even a spectator -- had seen his ball move. After losing the playoff by a single stroke, Jones deflected praise for his honesty by saying, "You may as well praise a man for not robbing a bank."

1. LUZ LONG

One of the favourites in the long jump at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany's Carl (Luz) Long put aside his own interests -- and those of his Fuhrer -- to help American Jesse Owens win the gold medal. Having fouled on his first two jumps in the preliminary round, Owens was one foul away from disqualification when Long walked up to him and suggested he pick a spot well behind the line to jump from. Owens followed Long's advice and went on to win the event, one spot ahead of the courageous German.


Videos

Photos