Rio Olympics 2016: US and NZ runners help each other

image copyrightReuters
image captionNew Zealand's Hamblin (left) later encouraged D'Agostino in turn

Two runners have been praised after stopping to help each other after both women fell during the 5,000-metre race at the Rio Olympics.

US runner Abbey D'Agostino encouraged New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin as she lay dazed on the track after the two entangled and fell.

"Get up," she told her. "We have to finish this."

Then Hamblin herself hung back to encourage the American, who if anything probably needed more help.

D'Agostino eventually hobbled over the line in last place.

The two women embraced before D'Agostino left in a wheelchair with a hurt ankle.

image copyrightCBC

The incident occurred about 3,000 metres (yards) into the race, when D'Agostino and Hamblin collided and both went down.

Hamblin fell heavily and just lay there, appearing to be in tears.

Instead of continuing the race in an attempt to catch up, the American put her hands under the New Zealander's shoulders to help her up, telling her not to give up.

As they continued the race, it became clear that D'Agostino's injury was the more serious and her ankle had been badly hurt.

So it was Hamblin's turn to be the helper, hanging back to encourage her rival.

image copyrightDaniel Cherny

"She helped me first," said Hamblin after the race. "I tried to help her. She was pretty bad."

She eventually had to leave D'Agostino behind and thought the American would have to give up.

She waited at the finish line where they shared a hug. This time, it was D'Agostino who was in tears and she was taken out of the stadium in a wheelchair.

"That girl is the Olympic spirit right there," said Hamblin.

The two runners have been reinstated as finalists by the organisers, if they are fit enough to race in Friday night's final.