The women’s 5000-metre heat saw a race of focussed, ambitious and glory-aspiring athletes trying to jostle their way through to the lead.
Suddenly in that jostling, Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand stumbled and had a bad fall. That, in turn, made American athelete Abbey D’Agostino stumble fall sideways.
While Hamblin was crying out in pain, D’Agostino stood up. But instead of running to make up for lost ground, she stood next to the Kiwi, offered both her hands, and goaded her to join in finishing the race.
Those hands did the healing touch. They started again from there.
Next lap, the American was in serious pain, falling down, on the verge of giving up. This time, Hamblin stood by her and put her on her feet.
As expected, they came last. But they finished a race no one in their position would have finished without those traits that the Olympics should be all about: respect, care, love and compassion for fellow athletes.
The crowd saved the biggest applause for them.
Speaking to radio in New Zealand, Hamblin said words that may never fade from public memory:
“When I look back at Rio, I will not remember where I finished, I will not remember my time. But I will remember it for that moment.”
No medal could have done justice to such an act.