The Olympic spirit is alive and well in Rio de Janeiro, thanks in part to the actions of Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin.
D’Agostino and Hamlin produced one of the most inspirational moments of the 2016 Olympics on Tuesday during a women’s 5,000 meters qualifying heat. And to think, it all started with an accident.
The two runners collided and fell onto the Olympic Stadium track around 3,000 meters into the race. D’Agostino rose to her feet first, but instead of continuing with the race, the USA runner offered to help her injured counterpart from New Zealand — a move that all but assured both would miss the final.
It was then that D’Agostino, a Topsfield, Mass., native, realized she had suffered an ankle injury and would struggle to finish the race.
Hamblin initially ran with D’Agostino but pulled away after some time. Nevertheless, Hamblin waited at the finish line for D’Agostino, who came in last. The two then shared a heartfelt embrace.
“That girl is the Olympic spirit right there,” Hamblin said of D’Agostino, per the New York Times. “I’ve never met her before. Like I never met this girl before. And isn’t that just so amazing. Such an amazing woman.”
The D’Agostino-Hamblin moment also moved Olympic officials, who awarded both of them a place in Friday’s final.
Thumbnail photo via James Lang/USA TODAY Sports Images