Olympic runners Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino captured the world’s attention when they helped each other finish a race after taking a nasty fall. It was one of the Rio games’ most heartwarming moments.
Now, the runners are the newest recipients of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Pierre de Coubertin medal, a sportsmanship award given to only 17 other athletes in Olympic history, BuzzFeed reports.
“The Olympic games are about more than the win, the medals or the record-setting performances. At their core, the games are about the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect,” an IOC statement said. “Nobody has epitomized these values more at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 than runners Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin.”
Hamblin, of New Zealand, and D’Agostino, of the US, collided during a preliminary heat for the women’s 5,000-meter race. Instead of rushing to catch up with the pack, D’Agostino stopped to help Hamblin to her feet. The two continued to run together until D’Agostino collapsed. That’s when Hamblin returned the favour, helping D’Agostino stand up to keep running.
They hugged after crossing the finish line.
Later, a medical exam showed that D’Agostino had sustained major injuries: a torn right ACL, a torn meniscus, and strained MCL. The fall on the track ultimately ended her Olympic bid.
Luckily, she and Hamblin didn’t leave Rio empty-handed.
“I am so grateful to Abbey for picking me up, and I think many people would have returned the favour,” Hamblin told the IOC after receiving the Pierre de Coubertin medal. “Once you are on the track, there is a mutual understanding of what it takes to get there.”
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