These Olympians Just Earned a Medal More Prestigious Than Gold
Two track stars demonstrating "exemplary sportsmanship" are recognized for capturing the Olympic spirit.
As always, the Olympics were full of hugely heartwarming triumphs and some major disappointments (we're looking at you, Ryan Lochte). But nothing made us feel the feels quite like the two track rivals who helped each other cross the finish line during the women's 5,000-meter race.
In case you missed it, Team USA's Abby D'Agostino and New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin collided with four and a half laps remaining in the race and both runners ended up flat on the track. Rather than speed away from her fallen rival, D'Agostino stopped to help Hamblin up and cheer her on. Then, just moment's later, pain from a previous injury hit D'Agostino, and she fell a second time. This time, it was Hamblin who stopped her race to pick up her fellow runner. The two runners, who had never met before, embraced at the finish line and left the rest of world in tears at their winning-isn't-everything attitude. (Psst...Here are The Most Inspiring Moments from the 2016 Olympic Games In Rio.)
But we weren't the only ones impressed by their awesome display of sportsmanship. Before the close of the Games, both Hamblin and D'Agostino received the Fair Play award from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Fair Play Committee. The Fair Play award, which is a heck of a lot harder to earn than Gold, recognizes a spirit of selflessness and exemplary sportsmanship in Olympic athletes. As the only award of its kind on the table for Olympians, it's a big honor to receive. The IOC also awards the Pierre de Coubertin medal-which has been given out only 17 times in history-for demonstrating above and beyond sportsmanship, and several news outlets are reporting D'Agostino and Hamblin might be receiving this honor as well.
"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," Hamblin said in a statement to the IOC. "Both of us are strong competitors and we wanted to go out there and do our best on the track." It's safe to say that Hamblin and D'Agostino's actions inspired us all to bring our best to the table, regardless of whether or not we get an award for it.