Their on-track collision ended their hopes for gold, silver, or bronze at the Olympics. But their sportsmanship at that moment will earn American Abbey D’Agostino and New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin an Olympic medal given to a rare few.
Not even the great Michael Phelps has one.
D’Agostino and Hamblin were running in their 5,000 meter preliminary heat when they tripped over one another. D’Agostino helped Hamblin to her feet. Then the two made sure they were OK before continuing.
D’Agostino tore her ACL in the crash and barely finished, encouraged across the finish line by Hamblin.
The moving moment has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee, which is awarding the pair the Pierre de Coubertin medal – also known as the International Fair Play Committee Award --- according to multiple reports. It’s only been awarded 17 times in Olympic history.
Hamblin won a protest and was able to run in the final, finishing last. D’Agostino’s injury knocked her out of the Games.