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Nikki and Abbey Show Us


Winning, whether at work, school, or sports, is important to most of us. So it’s understandable that in such activities we typically want to “finish” at or near the top. This example reminds us that there are times in life when we need to put where we finish aside and stop what we’re doing to help someone in need. 

When I look back on Rio 2016, I’m not going to remember where I finished. 
I’m not even going to remember my time. 
But I’ll always remember the moment that girl looked down and said 'Come on, get up.'

Nikki Hamblin

What’s Really Important in Life? 


As children, we are taught to be kind, to share, and to respect our elders. But as we grow older, other things often become important, and our focus shifts from these basic qualities and practices to our personal achievements and how often “we win” in the eyes of our friends and associates. 

while we can make slight changes to our outward appearance,

In other lessons we have addressed the importance of kindness and respect. Hopefully, we maintain those qualities throughout our lives and use them daily as we show compassion and concern to those around us. Yes, treating others with kindness and respect should remain a priority of ours no matter what other important things we are working to achieve. 

In the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino, two world-class athletes, reminded us that a willingness to help others is more important than any other life goal we may have. 


New Zealand distance runner Nikki Hamblin and U.S. runner Abbey D’Agostino had both trained for years to reach the 2016 Summer Olympics. Abbey was the most decorated Ivy League athlete in track and field and cross country, winning seven individual NCAA titles. Nikki was the New Zealand record holder in the 1500 meters and won the silver medal in both the 800 and 1500 meters at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Both had dreams of running in Rio and possibly running a personal best. 

During their 5,000m race, however, the unexpected happened. Nikki Hamblin fell and accidentally tripped up Abbey D’Agostino. With Hamblin lying on the track behind her, D’Agostino got back to her feet but refused to continue the race. Instead, she sacrificed her race and turned around to help the prone New Zealander get back to her feet. The two continued the race even though they had fallen far behind. 

But moments later and only a few meters down the track, it was D’Agostino who crumpled to the ground—she would later be diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Hamblin stopped to help. Hamblin didn’t want to finish the race without D’Agostino. The pair eventually hugged at the finish line after finishing well back from the rest of the field. 

The New Zealander was quick to thank the American after the race, saying: “That girl is the Olympic spirit right there.” The two athletes showed the world what was really important. In an official statement, the International Olympic Committee recognized that "the D'Agostino and Hamblin story is one of humanity and sacrifice that has captured the hearts of people around the globe." The IOC presented both of the athletes with trophies for the Fair Play Award.


It’s About the Other People Involved


When we are chasing our dreams, it’s easy to put our focus on reaching personal goals and not be overly concerned about others around us. We are often motivated to work to gain personal recognition or wealth in the process. But when we look back at this race—at the concern shown by these two athletes—we remember what we were taught as children . . . to always be kind to others. I doubt that anyone remembers the specifics about this actual race. But, here we are many years later remembering how these two athletes treated each other.

So, live a life of compassion. Let your service to others define you more than your financial status, your job title, or any  recognition you may receive. That’s what’s really important…to show that you

while we can make slight changes to our outward appearance,

care about others. And, as you “race along” in life, make sure you too are eligible for some fair play awards along the way.

It’s so cool and, I think, affirming to see something like this connect with so many people. It’s special to be a part of this and it goes to show what is so much more important than the race.

Abbey D’Agostino

Questions/Discussion Points



What do you think defines you the most at this point in your life? 
Do people know you by your caring and your service to others? 


What other people have you read about that sacrificed their own goals to help others? 


Have you ever sacrificed something personal to help another person? 
Have you seen anyone in your family or school make a sacrifice for others?


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