Gold medal for sisterhood: the rival runners who stopped to help each other up

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Harriet Hall
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Amidst the competition and the hunger for gold, it’s rare to see real camaraderie between rivals at a sporting event as tense as the Olympics.

But two Olympic runners have just won gold for sisterhood, risking their chances at getting their teeth into real gold, in order to help one another in an inspiring act of kindness.

Midway through the women’s 5,000 metres on Tuesday, US runner Abbey D’Agostino accidentally clipped the ankle of New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin, sending the pair tumbling down together.  

D’Agostino immediately got up, and, noticing that Hamblin appeared distressed, helped her rival back to her feet in a heart-warming display of camaraderie.

“When I went down it was like, ‘what’s happening? Why am I on the ground?’ Hamblin said after the race.

“And suddenly there’s this hand on my shoulder, like ‘get up, get up, we have to finish this!’ I’m so grateful for Abbey for doing that for me. That girl is the Olympic spirit right there.

“I’ve never met her before. Isn’t that so amazing?”

But, soon after, as a result of a leg injury from the first fall, D’Agostino stumbled to the ground in pain. Seeing the second fall, Hamblin stopped running to help the American up.

The New Zealand runner hung back in the race, helping D’Agostino and encouraging her.

“She helped me first. I tried to help her. She was pretty bad,” Hamblin said. She eventually had to leave D’Agostino behind and was certain that the American would have to stop.

“I didn’t even realize she was still running. When I turned around at the finish line and she’s still running, I was like, wow,” Hamblin said.

When D’Agostino crossed the finish line, the pair hugged, the American bursting into tears before she was taken away in a wheelchair.

Although, as a result of the fall, the pair failed to meet the qualifying time for the final, both have since been included in Friday’s final following protests from team officials, as well as Austrian runner, Jennifer Wenth, who also went down in the collision.

Now that’s Olympic spirit if ever we saw it.