Two Olympic athletes win a medal that's even harder to get than gold at Rio 5 years ago

Two Olympic athletes win a medal that's even harder to get than gold at Rio

Gold medals are the pinnacle of sporting achievement.

Usain Bolt has won nine of them in his past three Olympic games and Britain's Mo Farah just completed the double double, claiming another historic gold in the 5,000m in the early hours of Sunday.

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While it's the ultimate symbol of athletic achievement, there are some things worth more that gold.

In Olympic terms there is one medal that's far harder to get than gold, silver or bronze.

It's handed out by the IOC to a select few athletes or officials who truly exemplify the spirit of sportsmanship at the Games.

It's the Pierre de Coubertin medal, named after the founder of the modern games, and only 17 of them have been handed out in Olympic history.

Also known as the True Spirit of Sportsmanship medal, "it is one of the noblest honours that can be bestowed upon an Olympic athlete," according to the Olympic Museum.

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Since the De Coubertin medal was inaugerated back in 1964, where German Lutz Long was posthumously honoured for helping out legendary US athlete Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics in front of Adolf Hitler, only 15 had ever been handed out.

But at Rio there was two of the medals given to athletes who displayed a truly incredible degree of sportsmanship at the games.

New Zealand 5,000m runner Nikki Hamblin and American Abbey D'Agostino competitor collided during their race.

As Hamblin fell she brought D'Agostino down with her, leaving the US athlete with a knee injury.

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But the Kiwi runner refused to finish the race without the American in an admirable show of compassion that saw her give up the chance of a medal to help her fellow competitor.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16:  Abbey D'Agostino of the United States (L) talks with Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand after the Women's 5000m Round 1 - Heat 2 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Abbey D'Agostino of the United States (L) talks with Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand after the Women's 5000m Round 1 - Heat 2 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

She waited for a wheelchair to be brought out for the injured D'Agostino and then was waiting at the finish line for her to finally finish the race.

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It was one of the moments of the whole games.

"Winning this award is overwhelming," said Hamblin.

"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."

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Main image credits: @SmoutAllen/@rio2016_en

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