Featured image credit: PA
Athletes spend four, long, hard years of training in order to make sure they are in peak physical condition to compete for medals at the Olympics.
Obviously, gold is the aim for all the athletes, but apparently there's a medal that's harder to achieve than gold - and, technically, it doesn't require you to be the fittest, strongest, or fastest.
The Pierre de Coubertin medal, which is named after the founder of the modern games, is awarded to those who show an impressive amount of sportsmanship.
The medals are handed out by the International Olympics Committee, and only 17 have ever been awarded, meaning they're a lot harder to achieve than a gold medal.
The Pierre de Coubertin medal is awarded to athletes who exemplify the spirit of sportsmanship in the #Olympics. pic.twitter.com/XdlhDhi0T8
- Farhan (@farhanshabri) August 21, 2016
New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin and American runner Abbey D'Agostino were the two athletes who won the award this year, .
The pair were competing in the 5,000 metre race when the Kiwi tripped and fell, bringing down D'Angostino in the process.
The American badly injured her leg and fell over again after she carried on running. Hamblin decided to run the rest of the race alongside her fellow competitor, helping her cross the finish line and therefore eliminating herself from the challenge for bronze, silver, or gold.
In doing so, however, she was in contention for the Pierre de Coubertin medal for embodying the Olympic spirit.
"Winning this award is overwhelming," the New Zealand runner said. "I am proud that what we did and truly believe that you can be both a competitor and kind and responsive at the same time.
"Everyone comes here to compete but there are a lot of people who don't achieve that and the journey is really important, too. That was one of those journeys and it has gone on to be one of the most important moments of my life."
It's a shame this award doesn't get as much exposure as gold medals, because if anything, winning it is far more admirable.
Congratulations to Nikki and Abbey, and all those who have won it in the past.
Words by Mark McGowan
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