LA Times – Distance runners Abbey D’Agostino of the U.S. and Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand weren’t favored to win medals in the women’s 5,000-meter event. But they deserve some special and public recognition for the sportsmanship they displayed toward one other after they collided during Tuesday’s first-round race.
D’Agostino, of Topsfield, Mass., collided with Hamblin about 3,200 meters into the race, possibly because Hamblin had slowed her pace to avoid contact with another runner who was being lapped. D’Agostino appeared to hit Hamblin from behind and both fell to the track.
D’Agostino got up but saw Hamblin was in distress and paused to help her up. They tried to continue, but D’Agostino was in pain because of injuries to her leg. “She could hardly stand,” Hamblin said.
Hamblin then helped her up, but D’Agostino couldn’t resume running and told Hamblin to go continue without her. Hamblin finished 16th in 16:43.10, and D’Agostino limped to the line in 17:10.02. Following a protest, both runners were advanced to Friday’s final, as was a third runner who was affected by the collision, Jennifer Wenth of Austria.
What a touching tale of Olympic sportsmanship. Isn’t this what the Olympics are all about? We see the two athletes who have dedicated their lives to attaining peak athletic performace. We see one athlete tripping the other up in a crowd, by accident, and then both athletes willing each other to finish the biggest race of their professional(?) running careers.
That may be what you see, but I see something slightly different. I see two brilliant minds at work. You see, what breeds sportsmanship in the Olympics is the desire to win. You have to have an unmatched desire to beat your opponents by any means necessary in order to reach the levels of athletic prowess that are required to compete on the highest stage. If you aren’t going to win your race, you trip and fall and help each other up to gain unlimited levels of positive press. The media fawns over you for demonstrating what the Olympics is supposed to be about, and the next thing you know you’re being passed on to the 5000m finals along with the other two racers that were impacted by the collision. What we have here is a classic case of collusion. Abbey and Nikki clearly had planned ahead of the race to trip each other if they saw that they wouldn’t be winning. Their plan worked perfectly. Just another example of why working smart, and not hard, is always the best solution.
Side Note: How about this loser getting lapped that caused this whole thing to happen? Good God have some dignity for me. You’re gonna show up at the Olympics and get lapped?? I don’t think I’ve ever even sniffed 5000m of continuous running, but you can bet your ass that my pride would propel my deceased body across that finish line without getting lapped. THIS should have been the real story to come out of all of this.