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Medal For Sportsmanship at the Olympics

The 2 Olympic Runners Who Helped Each Other Got a Rare Award More Prestigious Than Gold

Image Source: Getty / Ian Walton

Update: Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D'Agostino were both awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for helping each other after their fall. The IOC vice president, Nawal El Moutawakel, said of the Olympics this year: "We have been inspired by great moments of sportsmanship. Athletes are inspirational role models, and it is these moments of fair play that we have come together to celebrate today."

Original story: Everyone knows about gold, silver, and bronze, but there's a fourth medal you can win at the Olympics. In memory of Olympics founder Pierre de Coubertin, the committee awards a sportsmanship award during the games. The prize has only been awarded 17 times, according to the Guardian, making its bestowal a rare and major honor.

Previous winners come from several sports. In 2004, Vanderlei de Lima, a Brazilian runner, was in the middle of the marathon race when a protester jumped onto the track and held him; he could have won gold because he was in the lead, but he won bronze instead. Since he was denied the opportunity, he won the prestigious prize.

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Image Source: AFP/Getty Images

Other winners include Lawrence Lemieux, a Canadian who abandoned his boat during the sailing competition to save two other capsized sailors in 1988. Perhaps the most powerful bestowal was in 1936 at the Olympics in Berlin: a German long jumper, Luz Long, congratulated a black American long jumper, Jesse Owens.

Though the Rio Games have not yet closed, people are already taking their nominations to Twitter. A favorite for the award seems to be when Nikki Hamblin helped Abbey D'Agostino finish the 5,000m race after she tripped.

With so many powerful moments from the Olympics this year, we imagine it might be difficult to choose a Pierre de Coubertin winner if there were to be one.

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