Would you stop to help a fallen runner during your 5,000 metre race in the Olympics? Not many people would – but in a moment that defines Olympic spirit, one person did.
New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin fell just over halfway into her race on Tuesday, accidentally tripping up American athlete Abbey D’Agostino with around 2,000m left to run.
D’Agostino, 24, quickly got back up, but, rather than carrying on with the race, she stopped to help her competitor who remained on the ground after falling hard on her shoulder, the Independent reports.
Footage showed D’Agnostino help her rival to her feet, but when it became apparent D’Agnostino had an ankle injury, Hamblin tried to help her continue instead.
After trying to run their way back into the race, D’Agostino collapsed and told Hamblin to carry on. But she later decided to continue, and both athletes finished the race.
Hamblin finished in 29th place and waited at the finish line for D’Agostino, who limped across in 30th place.
The pair hugged at the finish before D’Agostino was taken from the track in a wheelchair.
Hamblin said after the race:
That girl is the Olympic spirit right there. I’ve never met her before. Like I never met this girl before. And isn’t that just so amazing. Such an amazing woman.
Suddenly, there was this hand on my shoulder, like ‘Get up. We have to finish this’ and I was like ‘Yup, yup, you’re right’. This is the Olympics Games. We have to finish this.
She helped me first. I tried to help her. She was pretty bad.
I didn’t even realize she was still running. When I turned around at the finish line and she’s still running, I was like, wow.
The pair were both given places in the 5,000m final after their team’s officials successfully submitted protests, CNN reports.
Hamblin added: “I’m never going to forget that moment. When someone asks me what happened in Rio in 20 years’ time, that’s my story.”
After the selfie between the North and South Korean gymnasts, this year’s Olympics looks like it’s shaping up to be the most inspirational yet.