About two-thirds into the 5,000-meter women's semifinal race on Tuesday, American Abbey D'Agostino clipped the heel of New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin, and the two distance runners tumbled to the track. D'Agostino, however, won't be able to compete in Friday's final because of her injury.
"I'm so grateful for Abbey for doing that for me".
But Hamblin and D'Agostino provided a memory that captured the Olympic spirit.
While both their times were thrown off by the fall a review afterwards gave the greenlight for both runners to advance to the finals.
"Although my actions were instinctual at that moment, the only way I can and have rationalized it is that God prepared my heart to respond that way", D'Agostino said in Wednesday's statement. "Come on, get up", the American was saying.
Hamblin said it didn't matter that she failed to advance beyond the heats, adding that she and D'Agostino would share a lifelong bond as a result of their experience in Rio. Like, I've never met this girl before. This time, Hamblin helped her up and urged her to keep going. Though the New Zealander was clearly distraught, D'Agostino encouraged her to join her in attempting to finish the race.
As both tried to continue the race, D'Agostino's knee buckled twice. I mean, that girl is the Olympic spirit right there.
After four laps from the end of the Women's 5000m in Rio Olympics, Nikki and Abbey collide, Nikki bunched tightly in the mass, facing forward while running, causing Abbey to hit the track as well, falling on the side of her body.
But once both were upright, it was apparent that D'Agostino was the worse off of the pair and she went down again. Suddenly, there was a hand on her shoulder and a voice in her ear: "Get up". "They'll be a recovery period but I think in a year from now there's a very good chance she'll be back as good as she ever was". "Such an incredible woman", Hamblin said in a later interview.
"I've never met this girl before", Hamblin said, according to the New York Daily News. "When someone asks me what happened in Rio in 20 years' time, that's going to be my story". I can't even put into words how awesome it is that she actually finished.
"A miracle", she said.