“The crux of Olympic competition is to do everything you can to be the first one to cross the finish line,” says Abbey D’Agostino. But that’s not what Abbey did during the 5,000-meter qualifying heats in the 2016 summer games.
Abbey had trained for her Olympic moment for years, adhering to the rigid 24/7 lifestyle of an elite athlete since graduating from Dartmouth College and signing to run professionally with New Balance.
Abbey’s Olympic moment came unexpectedly when she and New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin collided and tumbled to the ground.
What happened at the Olympics is an example we should be talking about in youth sports. It’s not just about achievement. It’s about sportsmanship.
Abbey ignored her training, her coach’s advice, her dreams.
She stopped and extended her hand to Nikki, and the pair hobbled through the final mile of the event side by side.
“What happened at the Olympics is an example we should be talking about in youth sports. It’s not just about achievement. It’s about sportsmanship,” says Dr. Mininder Kocher, associate director of Boston Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine.
There were a few things Abbey didn’t know during that fateful mile. She would be diagnosed with a devastating injury: a complete tear of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a meniscus tear and a strained medial collateral ligament. She and Nikki would be awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for Olympic spirit. And her team would expand.
Physical therapist Carl Gustafson would join Team Abbey, along with her coach Mark Coogan and Kocher, a world-renowned knee surgeon. …