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Runners Earn Highest Olympic Honor After Mid-Race Fall

As the 2016 Olympic Games come to a close, it’s easy to get wrapped up in world records and gunpoint-mugging claims. But there’s one medal that has only been awarded 17 times in the history of the Olympic games, and this year it’s coming home to the USA.

The Pierre de Coubertin medal for kindness, known as highest medal an Olympic athlete can can receive, goes to USA and New Zealand this year.

Abbey D’Agnostino from the USA and Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand were running the 5,000 meter race when they tripped over each other and landed on the track. Just like that, their hopes of taking home the gold were shattered.

D’Agnostino jumped up and started to run before turning around and telling Hamblin, “Get up, we have to finish,” according to the Daily Mail.

She helped Hamblin to her feet before starting to run again. Then D’Agnostino realized she injured her ankle—a torn ACL, sprained MCL and torn meniscus, according to

Hamblin stayed back and ran the remainder of the race with D’Agnostino. 

The International Olympic Committee released a statement that said, “The Olympic Games Rio 2016 have reminded all of us of the power and magic of sport. In the past weeks, the athletes have amazed us with their outstanding achievements and performances. We have seen new world records, we have seen high-level performances, we have seen personal bests and we have also seen great emotions. We have also been inspired by great moments of sportsmanship. Athletes are inspirational role models, and it is these moments of fair play that we have come together to celebrate today.”

The Pierre de Coubertin medal has only been awarded 17 times in the last 80 years. Spencer Eccles was the last American to win the medal in 2002. In the 2002 Winter Olympics, Eccles was also appointed mayor of the Olympic Village in Salt Lake City.

Watch the whole video here. 

About the author

Jessie Harbin

Jessie is a newlywed living in Meridianville with her husband and three dogs. She's learning to sail on their 26-foot sailboat in Guntersville. At the time of publication, nobody has fallen ill because of her cooking.

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