The two runners who helped each other finish their race in Rio, rewarded

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They may have not won the race, but there’s no doubt that distance runners Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin have won plenty of hearts at the Rio Olympics.

New Zealander Hamblin and D’Agostino from the U.S. both fell after being tripped during a heat of the women’s 5000 metre race on Aug. 16. In a stunning display of sportsmanship, both athletes helped each other up to complete the arduous race.

Now they’ve been both recognised for their acts on the track. The International Fair Play Committee, with support from the IOC, gave the duo Fair Play Awards at a ceremony in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.

“I think it’s very special for both Abbey and myself,” Hamblin said at the ceremony, according to a statement online.

“I don’t think either of us woke up and thought that that was going to be our day, or our race, or our Olympic Games. Both of us are strong competitors and we wanted to go out there and do our best on the track,” she added.

Hamblin spoke of her gratefulness towards D’Agostino, who picked her up despite an MRI scan later discovering that she had torn her right anterior cruciate ligament and strained her MCL, putting her out of the final.

“I was on the ground for too long to get back up and catch on to the pack. So then it becomes about finishing the race, and finishing the race well. I am so grateful to Abbey for picking me up, and I think many people would have returned the favour. […] Once you are on the track, there is a mutual understanding of what it takes to get there,” she said.

Aaand we’re not crying, you’re crying.

Correction: The original article stated that the International Fair Play Committee is part of the IOC, when in fact it is a separate organisation.

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