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Runner’s fall ends in heartwarming show of sportsmanship

When New Zealand distance runner Nikki Hamblin tripped and fell in the 5,000-meter semifinals on Tuesday, she inadvertently caused American Abbey D’Agostino, who was running behind her, to tumble as well.

D’Agostino got the worst of it.

As Hamblin got up ready to catch the rest of the field, the American remained on the ground, in pain. What happened next exemplified the best spirit of the Olympics.

Instead of chasing down the pack with an eye on recovering, Hamblin helped D’Agostino off the ground and encouraged her to finish the race. Despite what appeared to be a serious knee injury, she did.

“I went down, and I was like, ‘What’s happening? Why am I on the ground?’ ” Hamblin said, via the Los Angeles Times. “Then suddenly, there’s this hand on my shoulder [and D’Agostino saying], ‘Get up, get up, we have to finish this.’ And I’m like, ‘Yup, yup, you’re right. This is the Olympic Games. We have to finish this.’

“I’m so grateful for Abbey for doing that for me. That girl is the Olympic spirit right there. I’ve never met her before. I’ve never met this girl before, and isn’t that just so amazing? 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.’ ”

Hamblin closed out the race in 16th place with a 16:43.10 minute run, and she waited at the finish line for D’Agostino, who came in last at 17:10.02 before requiring a wheelchair to leave the track.

If D’Agostino is healthy, a protest automatically has entered her into the 5,000-meter finals.

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