No one wants to fall at the Olympics.
But sometimes it’s not a medal, but the way you respond to adversity that can help make you an Olympic icon.
Enter Topsfield’s Abbey D’Agostino, a 24-year-old runner who is being celebrated around the world for her sportsmanship after a tumble during the 5,000-meter race this morning.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 16, 2016
Here’s what happened: Another runner, Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand, tripped and fell as a swarm competitors jostled for positions. D’Agostino couldn’t get out of the way, so she went down, too. But instead of cursing Hamblin for knocking her over, or trying to move along and get back in the race, D’Agostino helped her co-competitor up off the ground and encouraged her to keep going.
“Get up, get up! We have to finish!” D’Agostino said, according to ESPN. “This is the Olympic Games. We have to finish this.'”
Both went on to run through their injuries and finish the race. Then they embraced.
“That girl was the Olympic spirit right there,” Hamblin told reporters after the race. “I am so impressed and inspired by that.”
D’Agostino, who finished last just behind Hamblin and was wheeled away in a wheelchair, won an appeal of the results of the race and will advance to the 5k finals.
Here is what Nikki Hamblin had to say about Abbey D’Agostino after their collision in today’s Olympic 5,000m heat. pic.twitter.com/HxTFsKkcZy
— Jonathan Gault (@jgault13) August 16, 2016
Earlier this month, after she qualified to compete in the Olympics, D’Agostino told the Salem News what it meant to her to be part of the Games.
“I’m very excited to be going to Rio,” she said. “It’s such a huge privilege to have a spot on the Olympic team. Everybody knows about the Olympics, and it means so much to me to be an athletic ambassador to the world and a role model.”
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