When American runner Abbey D’Agostino accidentally tripped Nikki Hamblin in an Olympic race, she didn’t just leave the New Zealander in the dust.
Instead, D’Agostino delivered perhaps the most touching moment of the Rio Games, stopping to help Hamblin up and encouring her to complete the 5,000-meter race.
“I am so grateful to Abbey for doing that for me,” Hamblin said via USA Today. “That girl is the Olympic spirit right there. I am so impressed and inspired I had never met her, isn’t that so amazing? It is a moment that I will never ever forget for the rest of my life.”
While running in a pack of athletes, D’Agostino fell and clipped Hamblin, who was just ahead of her. Both women were on the track with 4 1/2 of the 12 1/2 laps left Tuesday morning.
“When I went down I was like ‘Why am I on the ground’ and suddenly there was this hand on my shoulder,” said Hamblin, who heard this from D’Agostino: “Come on, get up. We have to finish this race.”
In that moment, D’Agostino’s knee buckled beneath her, a sign she was injured in the fall. Hamblin returned the favor and assisted D’Agostino until both could continue. Since neither was at fault, both were advanced through to the final.
“For sure (we have) a friendship now,” Hamblin said. “When someone asks me what happened in Rio in 20 years time, that is my story. She is my story.”