17 Aug 2016

Hamblin, D'Agostino show 'Olympic spirit' in fall

6:01 am on 17 August 2016

Rio 2016 Olympics - New Zealand middle distance runner Nikki Hamblin has qualified for the 5000 metre final after a dramatic incident being hailed as showing the true Olympic spirit.

Nikki Hamblin, left, and Abbey D'Agostino after the 5000m Round 1 race.

Nikki Hamblin, left, and Abbey D'Agostino. Photo: AFP

In the fourth lap, Hamblin tripped and fell along with US runner Abbey D'Agostino.

What followed was a little bit of Olympic magic.

"I was like, 'What's happening? Why am I on the ground?'," said Hamblin after the race.

"Then suddenly this hand on my shoulder, like 'Get up, get up, we have to finish this' and I was like, 'Yup, yup, you're right. This is the Olympic Games. We have to finish this.'

D'Agostino helped Hamblin up off the track, but the American was injured as a result of the fall.

"I went down. She went down. She pulled me up," said Hamblin. "She [D'Agostino] could hardly stand up. She helped me first. I tried to help her. She was pretty bad. I didn't even realise she was still running."

Hamblin finished 86 seconds behind the winner.

"When I turned around at the finish line and she's still running I was like, 'wow'.

The two women embraced after the race before D'Agostino was taken from the field in a wheelchair.

Athletics officials now ruled both runners will advance to the final.

Both runners will go into the final.

Both runners will go into the final. Photo: AFP

Hamblin said what happened will stay with her forever.

"When you're at this level you know how hard it is to get here. There's just a mutual understanding of how much everyone puts into it.

"I'm never going to forget that moment. When someone asks me what happened in Rio in 20 years' time, that's my story."