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Olympics: US runner stops mid-race to help fallen foe

/ 01:28 PM August 17, 2016
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New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, left, and United States’ Abbey D’Agostino after competing in a women’s 5000-meter heat during the athletics competitions of the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

In a classic act of sportsmanship, the US’ female representative in the 5,000-meter run decided to forego the race to help out her fallen opponent at the Rio Olympics on Wednesday.

American Abbey D’Agostino willingly gave up the contest to rescue New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin,who accidentally fell during the 5,000 m heats event.

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Despite being accidentally tripped up by Hamblin’s fall,  D’Agostino stood up and turned around to lend her hand to the prone New Zealander, the Telegraph reported.

The 24-year old American appeared to have twisted her right knee in the collision, and was able to limp over the line before being helped to a wheelchair.

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New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin greets United States’ Abbey D’Agostino, left, as she is helped from the track after competing in a women’s 5000-meter heat during the athletics competitions of the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

The pair managed to cross the finish line successively, with Hamblin finishing after 16 minutes and 43 seconds and D’Agostina after 17 minutes and 10 seconds.

Although they finished more than two minutes after the winner of the heat, Ethiopia’s  Almaz Ayana, the pair hugged at the finish line, much to the delight of the crowd in attendance, the report said.

Hamblin, meanwhile, had high praises for D’Agosito’s valiant act. That girl is the Olympic spirit right there. I went down and I was like ‘what’s happening? Why am I on the ground?’” she was quoted as saying in the report. “Then suddenly this hand on my shoulder, like ‘get up, get up, we have to finish this’ and I was like, ‘yep, you’re right.’ This is the Olympic Games—we have to finish this.”

Despite falling short of her goal, the 24-year old track star said she’s going to cherish the moment for the rest of her life.

“I’ve never met this girl before, and isn’t that just so amazing, such an amazing woman,” Hamblin said. “Regardless of the race and the result on the board, that’s a moment that you’re never ever going to forget for the rest of your life, that girl shaking my shoulder, like ‘Come on, get up.'”

She also wished her opponent a speedy recovery. “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.”

The pair was subsequently given places in the 5,000m final after the USA and New Zealand teams successfully protested.  Khristian Ibarrola

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TAGS: 000m heats, 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics, 5, Abbey D’Agostino, fallen opponent, Nikki Hamblin, track star
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