Two Olympic women runners who helped each other cross the finish line after they crushed together in the middle of the race were awarded for embodying the Olympic spirit.
Nikki Hamblin from New Zealander and Abbey D’Agostino from the U.S. were awarded the Pierre de Coubertin award on Saturday night by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for epitomising the Olympic values of fair play and sportsmanship.
During the 5,000m race Hamblin tripped and fell. D’Agostino was caught up in the tumble and also fell. After she managed to get up, D’Agostino helped Hamblin to get on her feet instead of sprinting of immediately.
The pair began to race on, but D’Agostino had twisted her leg badly in the tumble and fell again. Like D’Agostino, Hamblin chose to stay at her side rather than race away, giving up her own medal chances in the process. Supported by Hamblin, Agostino managed to get up and the pair finished the race together.
The award, which is named after the father of the modern Olympic games, has only been given 17 times.
Speaking after Saturday night’s ceremony in Rio, Hamblin said: “I think it’s very special for both Abbey and myself. I don’t think either of us woke up and thought that that was going to be our day, or our race, or our Olympic Games... I am so grateful to Abbey for picking me up, and I think many people would have returned the favour … Once you are on the track, there is a mutual understanding of what it takes to get there.” “We have been inspired by great moments of sportsmanship. Athletes are inspirational role models, and it is these moments of fair play that we have come together to celebrate today,”
the IOC vice-president, Nawal El Moutawakel, said.