These Olympic Runners Earned A Medal Rarer Than Gold

Photo: OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images.
We've almost had our fill of triumphant gold medal moments as the 2016 Olympics sprint to the finish on Sunday. We've certainly heard enough about Ryan Lochte. But we probably could never get enough of the heartwarming stories that have come out of Rio. One display of excellent sportsmanship between two women in the 5,000-m race is actually getting official recognition. Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand and American Abbey D'Agostino received the Pierre de Coubertin medal on Saturday for helping each other to complete the race, according to The special medal is awarded for "selflessness and exemplary sportsmanship." The two fell during the first-round heat, when Hamblin tripped and D'Agostino ran into her. D'Agostino helped Hamblin up and they continued to run. But soon after that, D'Agostino stopped in pain, having torn a ligament in her knee. That's when Hamblin went back to help her and remained with her until D'Agostino encouraged the New Zealander to finish the race. They both completed it, and after filing a protest, they were allowed to compete in the final. “I’m so grateful for Abbey doing that (and making sure that I was okay),” Hamblin told reporters according to Yahoo Sports. “That girl is the Olympic spirit right there.”
Though neither placed very high in that second race, they can now count themselves in an even more elite group. Only 17 other athletes have received the Pierre de Coubertin medal before them. "The D’Agostino and Hamblin story is one of humanity and sacrifice which has already captured the hearts of people across the globe," the International Fair Play Committee said in a statement.
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