One of the enduring images of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio was Abbey D’Agostino of the United States and Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand helping each other finish their 5,000 meter heat after a nasty collision on the track. In the age of road rage and blame gaming, these competitors showed compassion and grace. Unfortunately, D’Agostino suffered a torn ACL and couldn’t continue her medal pursuit. She did, however, gain international acclaim for her act of sportsmanship. D’Agostino described her experience in an interview with GoodSport in 2018.
“It was so visceral, I don’t think there’s a human explanation for it. I think God prepared me for that moment to react in that way. That’s the only way I’ve been able to understand it. Finishing a distance event on a torn ACL isn’t something that always happens, so I really do think that it was miraculous.”
D’Agostino and Hamblin both finished the heat and even qualified for the next race, but the moment was not about the result. It was about the amazing act of sportsmanship and a bond that formed in that moment.
“I know that what we experienced together was so compact and powerful. That it will be lasting”.
Lasting indeed. D’Agostino and Hamblin were honored by the International Olympic Committee with Fair Play Awards, which are presented to athletes who demonstrate acts of selflessness and exemplary sportsmanship. It is an award that D’Agostino greatly cherishes.
“It will forever be a reminder of this situation and message that I was invited into. What happened out there was more powerful than winning a gold medal. I’m very thankful to have that concrete reminder of what happened.”
At GoodSport, we hope to illuminate those who use sports as a platform for good. We commend Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin for rising above the competitive fray to show the world that sometimes it isn’t about winning or losing. It is about how you react to adversity.
Photo Credit: Google Reuse, Instagram