By David A. Sargent
The actions of these athletes have been hailed as expressing the true Olympic spirit.
The events occurred during a qualifying heat of the women’s 5,000 meter race in the 2016 Rio Olympics. About 3,000 meters into the race, American Abbey D’Agostino accidentally clipped New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin causing both of them to fall to the track. Hamblin was lying on the track dazed when D’Agostino rose and placed her hand on Hamblin’s shoulder and said, “Get up. We have to finish this.” D’Agostino helped Hamblin onto her feet so both of them could complete the race.
"I'm so grateful for Abbey for doing that for me. That girl is the Olympic spirit right there," Hamblin said of D'Agostino. "I've never met her before. Like I never met this girl before. And isn't that just so amazing. Such an amazing woman."
It was D’Agostino who suffered the greater injury. Tests would later find that she had torn ligaments in her knee. As she struggled to continue the race, Hamblin stayed behind to help her and offer encouragement.
"She helped me first. I tried to help her. She was pretty bad," Hamblin said.
Both Hamblin and D'Agostino set aside their own hopes of earning Olympic medals to look out for one another.
And they both completed the race.
And waiting at the finish line for the struggling D’Agostino was her competitor-turned-friend, Nikki Hamblin. Their magnanimous actions remind us that some things are better than gold! *
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
We’ve all fallen. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Without help, we could never finish the race. Without help, we are lost.
God loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16). His victory over sin and death made it possible for us to share in His victory. “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
God will save from sin and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
When God saves us, He also places us within His family, the Church (see Acts 2:36-41, 47). In God’s family, we should demonstrate the same kind of care that was shown by Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin. When one falls, we should seek to help him/her up. Then together we can complete the race and share in the victory that Christ has made possible.
After all, there are some things better than gold.
Won’t YOU trust and obey Christ? Then, won’t YOU help others to run the race?
- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website.
* Source: “Rio 2016: Runners Abbey D'Agostino, Nikki Hamblin Show True Meaning of Olympic Spirit.” by The Associated Press (www.nbcnews.com).