RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – “The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.” - Pierre de Coubertin, father of the modern Olympic Games.
Few moments encapsulate de Coubertin’s famous words better than what the world saw in the opening round of the women’s 5000m last week with the former Dartmouth All-American and national champion Abbey D’Agostino.
D’Agostino was tripped up with roughly five laps to go when Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand fell in front of her. Hamblin lay on the track for a few moments, likely knowing her Olympic dream of competing for a medal was gone as the pack moved on.
However, D’Agostino returned to her feet, stood over Hamblin and encouraged her to get up and finish the race, regardless of the outcome. After the two began running again, it was clear that D’Agostino had suffered a serious injury in the fall as she stopped and sat on the track in pain. This time, it was Hamblin who stood over D’Agostino and encouraged her competitor to finish.
Though both would finish last, their embrace at the finish line and show of compassion and support for competing nations resonated with millions across the world.
For their actions, both Hamblin and D’Agostino were awarded with Fair Play Awards from the International Fair Play Committee (CIFP) along with the support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at Rio’s Olympic Park on Saturday, the eve of the Games’ Closing Ceremonies.
The most decorated student-athlete in the history of the Ivy League with seven national championships, D’Agostino was making her Olympic debut in the race after running professionally the last two years with New Balance based in Boston.
The IOC characterized the actions of both D’Agostino and Hamblin as “two separate acts of selflessness and exemplary sportsmanship."
Of the eight former Dartmouth student-athletes competing in Rio, Josh Konieczny ’13 came closest to the podium. He and his rowing partner, Harvard graduate Andrew Campbell, took second in the preliminary heat of the lightweight double sculls, and again in the semifinals to advance to the A Final. The duo were sitting second halfway through the final, but settled for fifth in a very tight race.
A Big Green teammate of D’Agostino’s, Alexi Pappas ’12, distinguished herself while running for Greece in the 10,000m. The former All-American not only set a new personal best of 31:36.16, but also a Greek national record with that time. Pappas finished in the top half of the field in 17th place overall.
Madison Hughes ’15 captained the US Rugby Team to victories in three of its five games. Two of the three losses came in the preliminary rounds, however, but with identical 24-12 victories over host Brazil and Spain in the 9-12 bracket, the US was able to stake its claim on ninth place.
In the final year of her racing career, Evelyn Stevens ’05 — a former Dartmouth women’s tennis player — competed in two cycling events, earning 10th place in the women’s time trial and 12th in the women’s road race.
Another 10th-place finisher was rower Anthony Fahden ’08 in the coxless lightweight fours. He and his crew took second in the preliminary heat, then fourth in the semifinals to qualify for the B Final, placing fourth in that event and 10th overall.
Sean Furey ’04 competed in the javelin and placed 35th, and Dong Seon Kim ’12 claimed 43rd for South Korea in dressage individual grand prix.
|Abbey D’Agostino ’14||USA||5000m (Round 1)
|16th in heat
|Anthony Fahden ’08||USA||Coxless Lightweight Fours (Heats)
|2nd in heat
4th in heat
|Sean Furey ’04||USA||Javelin||Aug. 17||7:30 p.m.||35th|
|Madison Hughes ’15||USA||Rugby (Prelims)
Final 9th place
|Dong Seon Kim ’12||S. Korea||Dressage||Aug. 10||9:00 a.m.||43rd|
|Josh Konieczny ’13||USA||Lightweight Double Sculls (Heats)
| 2nd in heat
2nd in heat
|Alexi Pappas ’12||Greece||10,000m||Aug. 12||10:10 a.m.||17th|
|Evelyn Stevens ’05||USA||Cycling Road Race
Cycling Time Trial