At the risk of over-reporting what has occurred, here is one final installment. Abbey’s kindness, character and faith have been on luminous display — and through it the Lord has been honored.
Abbey’s faith shines gently yet unmistakably through. “Those who honor Me, I will honor.”
For Runners Involved in Viral Moment,
the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship
by Sarah Lorge Butler
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Two acts of kindness — which took just a few seconds to play out on the track in Rio’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday — turned into a whirlwind of media appearances for runners Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin.
On Wednesday, the two went to the International Broadcasting Center in Rio and spent five hours doing 10 to 12 on-camera interviews.
Access Hollywood. NBC News and NBC Sports. Snapchat — even though neither D’Agostino nor Hamblin uses Snapchat.
“We kind of looked at each other like, ‘Nope. Don’t have it,'” D’Agostino laughed.
Midway through the day, Hamblin, 28, and D’Agostino, 24, were told they had a short window for a break and could elect either to have food or get their hair and makeup done.
“We were like, ‘We want to have both. Can we have both?'” Hamblin said. “So we’re eating and getting our hair and makeup done at the same time, which was awesome!”
The runner from Boston, D’Agostino, and the runner from New Zealand had never met before the first-round heat of the women’s 5,000 meters (3.1 miles). In the race’s eighth lap, Hamblin fell in front of D’Agostino, who was following close behind. D’Agostino fell, too, and her knee buckled.
D’Agostino turned to help Hamblin get up before continuing to run. When D’Agostino tried to put weight on her knee, she fell again, at which point Hamblin helped her up. Both finished the race, and the moment became an emotional touchstone of these Games.
The New York Post put a photo of the two on the cover, with the line
“AMAZING GRACE: A story that reminds you there’s good in the world”:
Cover of Wednesday’s New York Post
“I think this is the beginning of a relationship that will unfold because of the extremity of what we experienced together,” D’Agostino said. “That was a really intense moment — even without the media. Physically and emotionally intense.”
Both runners were advanced to the final on Friday night. D’Agostino couldn’t run — an MRI on Tuesday revealed she has a fully torn ACL and a torn meniscus. She’s facing surgery and has been getting around Rio in a wheelchair and on crutches.
Hamblin was able to run in the final, which meant abandoning media appearances on Thursdayto rest.
That left D’Agostino with more interviews: An appearance on Today. CNN. Boston-area television affiliates.
And as much as she’s a woman in demand around Rio, D’Agostino said she was relying on the help of others. She moved out of the Olympic village and into her parents’ hotel room in Copacabana, because she couldn’t even take a shower without assistance.
A petition circulated throughout the week nominating D’Agostino to carry the U.S. flag in the closing ceremony of the Games. But she had changed her flight to go home with her parents on Saturday, who can help get her through the airport and board the plane.
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced that Simone Biles — who won four gold medals and one bronze medal in gymnastics — will carry the American flag at the closing.
Neither D’Agostino nor Hamblin had any idea in the first few hours on Tuesday how big their story had become until their families told them. But they didn’t mind the media appearances.
“I think it was really important to do [the interviews], because it was really important to celebrate that side of the sport,” Hamblin said on Friday after the 5,000-meter final. D’Agostino made it to the track to watch her run.
“Of course we’re here to perform and we’re here to compete,” Hamblin continued. “But if you just rely on being proud of what happens on the track, that really limits you. Say you race 10 times a year. I normally race the 1,500, so that’s, what, four minutes? So we’re talking about  minutes of happiness in a 12-month period. So you have to take the other moments, the moments of joy you get from experiences like that as well.”
D’Agostino said she believes God was working through her on the track on Tuesday.
“I think the qualities people see as heroic and altruistic, those come from God,” she said. “I’m glad He’s chosen me to be an instrument of that and react that way in the moment.”
Hamblin, too, is glad D’Agostino reacted the way she did. Even after finishing last in the 5,000 meter final in 16:14, she was the most popular interview in the media zone after the race on Friday. Her eyes got damp as she talked about D’Agostino.
“I’m never going to forget that hand on my shoulder and hearing, ‘Get up! We’ve got to finish!,'”Hamblin said. “I’m never, ever going to forget that.”
Abbey & Nikki’s interview with New Zealand TV (about 5 minutes, first 13 seconds are silent)
Kent & Denise Dahlberg ~ Integrare