"That girl is the Olympic spirit right there!" New Zealand Runner Amazed by Unselfish Act of American Rival
Aimee Herd : Aug 17, 2016
KFOR 4 News
"...That's a moment that you're never, ever going to forget. The rest of [my] life, it's going to be that girl shaking my shoulder like, 'Come on, get up.'" -Nikki Hamblin.
American Olympic runner Abbey D'Agostina, like all her fellow Olympic competitors, was in the semifinal of the women's 5,000 meter race to win and to move up. (Screengrab via NBC Olympics)
But thoughts of winning were pushed aside by compassion when New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin tripped and fell on the track causing Abbey to collide with her.
As she pulled herself up, Abbey didn't just start running again, she bent down and helped Nikki to her feet, encouraging her to finish the race.
But then, just meters later in the race, according to the KFOR NBC report, Abbey collapsed with what was later found to be a torn ACL.
This time it was Nikki Hamblin who wouldn't leave her rival's side, urging her to continue the race. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images/via KFOR)
Finally Abbey told Nikki to go on without her; the American eventually hobbling across the finish line "a full two minutes after the winner."
But Abbey's benevolent act of kindness made a huge impression on Nikki as she later said, "I'm so grateful for Abbey doing that for me. That girl is the Olympic spirit right there."
Watch a video of the race, and how Abbey helped Nikki up, by clicking here.
Later on a tweet from Nikki, shared by Jonathan Gault, went viral on what else the New Zealand runner said about her competitor, Abbey D'Agostina:
"When I went down, I was like, 'What's happening, why am I on the ground?' And suddenly there's this hand on my shoulder like, 'Get up, get up, we have to finish this.' And I'm like, 'Okay, yep, yep, you're right, it's the Olympic Games, we have to finish this.' I'm so grateful for Abbey for doing that for me. I mean, that girl is the Olympic spirit right there.
"I finished and I had a lonely last four laps but she ran four and a half laps barely being able to run. I'm so impressed and inspired that she did that. I've never met her before. Like, I've never met this girl before. And isn't that just so amazing? That's an amazing moment. Regardless of the race and the result on the board, that's a moment that you're never, ever going to forget. The rest of [my] life, it's going to be that girl shaking my shoulder like, 'Come on, get up.' And I really hope she's okay. And I know that she's young and she's going to have so many more opportunities. And being such a good human being, she's going to go so far."