New Zealander Nikki Hamblin and American Abbey D'Agostino were competing in the women's 5,000-metre semifinal when a collision ended with them both on the ground.
The runners tripped over each other midway through the race in an ugly collision. D'Agostino was first to her feet, but waited to help Hamblin up as well. It was only when the pair began to run again that D'Agostino realised she had injured her knee – a rupture of her anterior cruciate ligament.
D'Agostino ushered Hamblin on, telling the New Zealander to continue the race. The two embraced once more on the finish line, where D'Agostino had to be pushed in a wheelchair due to her injury.
In a statement today, the International Olympic Committee announced both D'Agostino and Hamblin would be awarded with the Fair Play trophy, a sportsmanship prize handed out by the International Fair Play Committee (CIFP), with the support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
"The Olympic games are about more than the win, the medals, or the record-setting performances," said the IOC in a statement.
"At their core, the games are about the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. They are about fair play and human spirit."
"The D’Agostino and Hamblin story is one of humanity and sacrifice which has already captured the hearts of people across the globe."
The Norwegian handball team was also awarded the prestigious trophy for an incident earlier this year. The team was playing Germany to qualify for the Olympics, and lost when the German team scored a goal in the final minute of play. It was discovered that when the goal was scored, an extra German player had been on the field, but Norway did not choose to contest the results as they felt the extra player did not help Germany score the final goal.
Hamblin and D'Agostino won the International Fair Play Committee Award. An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the award.
Hamblin and D'Agostino did not finish the race together, as an earlier version of this article misstated. D'Agostino was wheeled out in a wheelchair so she could embrace Hamblin at the finish line as she could no longer compete due to her injury.