Olympic friends re­flect on fall

Auckland City Harbour News - - MILESTONES - STAFF RE­PORTER

Kiwi run­ner Nikki Ham­blin and Amer­i­can Abbey D’Agostino have stayed in touch four months since they won the sport­ing world’s hearts with their courage and hu­mil­ity at the Rio Olympics.

The pair were in­volved in a fall in their women’s 5000m heat and Ham­blin en­cour­aged a badly in­jured D’Agostino to get up and fin­ish the race. To this day D’Agostino calls it ‘‘the epit­ome of ath­letic com­pe­ti­tion’’.

‘‘I just feel like I was an in­stru­ment - and so was Nikki - and I feel thank­ful that I was cho­sen to be a part of that,’’ D’Agostino told the New York Post for the news­pa­per’s re­view of the year’s sport­ing highlights.

‘‘It wasn’t me. That’s the only way I can in­ter­pret what hap­pened. It makes me smile to re­alise that such a pos­i­tive, sim­ple act was recog­nised on that scale. I think peo­ple see that and they’re drawn to it be­cause that’s what we as hu­mans are meant to do, and whether peo­ple are con­scious of that or not, it’s just so en­cour­ag­ing to me. That’s who we are: love and sac­ri­fice.’’

The friend­ship of D’Agostino, 24, and Ham­blin, 28, has blos­somed since Rio as they con­tinue to share their post-Games ex­pe­ri­ences with each other. ’’This mo­ment got so much at­ten­tion. You can’t plan for that to hap­pen. And it’s still get­ting at­ten­tion. Peo­ple still talk about it, peo­ple still tweet about it,’’ Ham­blin said.

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