I'm not one for syrupy stories, but this time I'm all in.
Compare the two examples of falls during Championship Womens distance races from 32 years apart! Pay attention to the reactions of the two runners involved in each.
- Zola Budd vs. Mary Decker - 1984
- Nikki Hamblin vs. Abbey D’Agostino - 2016
Some of us old-timers remember the scorn, animosity and horrible vitriol thrown Zola Budd's way in the wake of Mary Decker's crying and whining following the ordeal. It turned out that it was mostly a psychological thing on Mary's part and she wasn't hurt as much as she feigned. And following a years-long delay, they finally did reconcile. Zola is still running at a remarkable level while coaching in North Carolina.
Meanwhile, Abbey immediately was thinking of the other athlete. The milliseconds it takes to decide what to do in an unexpected situation reveals much about the person involved. Maybe ALL about the person involved. Gives me hope for the generation I have routinely trashed! (in a hopeful curmudgeonly way...)
Nikki and Abbey have thus received the Pierre de Coubertin Award for sportsmanship, making grouches like me smile when no one else is watching.