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Last in their Olympic Heat; First in Olympic Spirit

Kiwi Nikki Hamblin and American Abbey D'Agostino gave the Rio Olympics its ultimate feel good moment.
August 17, 2016, 2:25pm
Photo credit: Kirby Lee/USA Today

They fell together. They rose together. They finished in the final two places in their women's 5000m heat at Estadio Olimpico in Rio de Janeiro.

But together Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D'Agostino gave the 2016 Olympics its ultimate feel-good moment this morning.

Every Olympics has them. Moments of genuine goodwill, sportsmanship and endevour without glory that make you forgot about all the doping, corruption, security and, in the case of Brazil, an entire nation seemingly teetering on collapse.


You never know when and where they'll pop up though.

In this morning's case, Hamblin, from New Zealand, tripped midway through their heat, with D'Agostino, from the United States, clipping the Kiwis legs. She also went down.

The American runner got to her feet immediately, but rather than leave the English-born Kiwi, she reached down to pull her competitor up.

"Suddenly there's this hand on my shoulder, like 'get up, get up, we have to finish this!," Hamblin told media later.

"I'm so grateful for Abbey for doing that for me. That girl is the Olympic spirit, right there."

Once both runners were up, it was clear that D'Agostino was in a worse state than Hamblin. The American had suffered a knee injury, but encouraged the Kiwi to go ahead.

"She was like 'go on, go on, I don't know if I can run, keep going, keep going."

Judges have given both runners entry into Saturday morning's final due to the mishap. While Hamblin suffered no injuries from the fall, it is unknown if D'Agostino will compete in the final.

The Olympic Spirit… When everything goes wrong… Just keep going. Try it.
D'Agostino — Women's Football (@WoSoWorld)August 16, 2016

Both did, finishing at the back of the field. D'Agostino hobbled into the finish, requiring a wheelchair to leave the stadium.

But, clearly, for both, a spot in the final ultimately pales in comparison to selflessness shown in their heat.

"I'm never going to forget that moment," Hamblin says.

"When anyone asks me what happened in Rio in 20 years time, that's my story."