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Sunday's Olympics men's 800-meter semifinal did not go as planned for USA's Isaiah Jewett and Botswana's Nigel Amos.
Jewett was running in third place late in the qualifying heat when Amos approached him from behind. Amos appeared to clip Jewett's heel, and both runners collapsed to the ground. The rest of the field continued toward the finish line as Jewett and Amos remained fallen on the track.
Then one of those moments that embodies Olympic sportsmanship and seems to happen at every Games took place. Jewett didn't express the disappointment and frustration he was certainly feeling after being tripped from behind. As he stood up, he grasped the outreached hand of Amos, and they helped each other off the ground.
He then wrapped his arm around Amos' shoulders, and they walked together toward the finish line.
Jewett: 'It was devastating falling'
"It was devastating, I’m not going to lie," Jewett told reporters after the race. "...It was just devastating falling.”
A devoted anime fan, Jewett said he was trying to emulate his anime heroes by reaching out to Amos.
“Regardless of how mad you are, you have to be a hero at the end of the day," Jewett said. "And that was my version of trying to be a hero — standing up and showing good character even if it’s my rival or whoever I’m racing or if anything happened.
“Because that’s what heroes do, they show their humanity through who they are and show they’re good people.”
Amos reinstated after appeal; Jewett still out
Amos was reinstated later in the night on appeal. Jewett remained out of the field, indicating he may have inadvertently tripped himself. And in the process, he got Amos tangled in the process. The final is Wednesday
In the moment, Jewett and Amos just wanted to finish the race.
“I knew, if anything, just me, I always have to finish a race,” Jewett said. “I got Nijel up as well because I could see that he was devastated, and I was like, 'Come on, man.’ He apologized, and I was like, ‘Let’s just finish the race, man.’”
The moment wasn't the first example of sportsmanship amid heartbreak at the Olympic track on Sunday. During the women's 100-meter hurdles qualifying, Jamaica's Yanique Thompson and Hungary's Luca Kozák both fell. When Kozák looked two lanes over to realize her competitor had also fallen, she walked over and helped Thompson off the ground.
Like Jewett and Amos, they walked together toward the finish line.
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