Abbey D'Agostino and Nikki Hamblin (Getty Images)
Rio de Janeiro - The 5,000-meter runner whose act of friendship captured the Olympic spirit will not return to the track in Rio after tearing ligaments in her knee.
Abbey D'Agostino said Wednesday that her season was over, but her message prevailed nonetheless.
She was involved in a chain-reaction wreck Tuesday with New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin. Instead of scrambling up to keep running, D'Agostino went to Hamblin, helped her up and urged the New Zealander to keep running.
But D'Agostino got the worst of the collision. After she finished the race, she was carted off the track in a wheelchair. Later, doctors discovered a torn ACL and strained MCL in her right knee.
Race officials advanced both runners into Friday's final, but D'Agostino can't go.
No regrets, she said.
"Although my actions were instinctual at that moment, the only way I can and have rationalized it is that God prepared my heart to respond that way," said the 24-year-old from Topsfield, Massachusetts. "This whole time here, he's made clear to me that my experience in Rio was going to be about more than my race performance — and as soon as Nikki got up I knew that was it."
Hamblin has indicated she will run in the final.