Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D'Agostino. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images.

Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images.

The beauty of an event like the Olympics is the different types of stories that emerge. From the refugee team that competed this year to the brilliance of Usain Bolt there were plenty of things to read and discuss. Perhaps the two people who best showed what the Olympic spirit is all about are Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino.

Nikki Hamblin was born in England where she started competing in middle-distance running (her specialties are the 800 and 1500 meter events). In 2006 she moved to New Zealand and in 2009 she gained New Zealand citizenship. 2010 was a breakout year for Nikki as she won two silver medals at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi as well as breaking the national record in the 1500 meter event.

Abbey D’Agostino earned national attention in the United States while studying at¬†Dartmouth; she became the first athlete (male or female) from an Ivy League school to win an NCAA Cross Country Championship. In total she won 7 individual NCAA championships while in college. While both women have enjoyed success in their home countries it wasn‚Äôt until this month that they made headlines worldwide.

In Rio both Nikki and Abbey competed in the 5000 meter event and it was during the heat that Nikki tripped and fell and accidentally caused Abbey to trip as well. Abbey encouraged Nikki to get back up and finish the race. Later on in the race Abbey again fell (she had injured herself when she first fell) and this time Nikki stopped and encouraged her to get back up. The two ended up finishing the race together and were awarded a place in the final as a result of their sportsmanship (Abbey was unable to compete due to the injury that she picked up).

The two women became the 18th and 19th people to receive the International Fair Play Committee Award as a reward for the selflessness and sportsmanship that they both showed. This is something even harder to achieve than a gold medal.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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