Runner Who Helped Opponent Hurts Knee, Won’t Return to Olympics

New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin, left, and United States' Abbey D'Agostino after competing in a women's 5000-meter heat during the athletics competitions of the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Aug. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The U.S. long distance runner who helped a fallen opponent at this year’s Rio Olympics will not compete in the track’s final meet after suffering an injury to her knee. 

Abbey D’Agostino made news headlines on Aug. 16 when she helped New Zealander Nikki Hamblin up from the track after the two collided into each other during the 5,000-meter semifinal round.

D’Agostino bore the brunt of the fall and appeared in visible pain as she crossed the finish line. Following the race, the 24-year-old was carted off the track in a wheelchair and an MRI revealed that she had a torn ACL, a meniscus tear, and a strained MCL in her right knee.

“That girl is the Olympic spirit right there,” Hamblin said of D’Agostino on Tuesday. “I’ve never met her before. Like I never met this girl before. And isn’t that just so amazing. Such an amazing woman.”

Hamblin will still compete in the final.

In a statement released on Wednesday, D’Agostino said she had no regrets about the way things ended and believed God was using her for a bigger purpose beyond athletics.

“Although my actions were instinctual at that moment, the only way I can and have rationalized it is that God prepared my heart to respond that way,” D’Agostino said. “This whole time here he’s made clear to me that my experience in Rio was going to be about more than my race performance—and as soon as Nikki got up I knew that was it.”

D’Agostino said the best part about her time in Brazil was the exposure to other cultures and it is the unification of cultures that can quash contention among nations.

“Since the night of the opening ceremonies, I have been so touched by this—people from all corners of globe, embracing their unique cultures, yet all uniting under one celebration of the human body, mind, and spirit,” she said. “I just keep thinking about how that spirit of unity and peace is stronger than all the global strife we’re bombarded with and saddened by on a daily basis.”

Shelby Houlihan will now represent Team USA.

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