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Two athletes have provided one of the most inspirational moments of the Rio Olympics so far when they tripped over each other in the women’s 5,000 metres - then helped one another to carry on.

American Abbey D'Agostino and Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand were 3,000m into the race today when D'Agostino appeared to clip Hamblin’s heel, sending both tumbling to the ground.

But instead of appearing frustrated that their dreams of glory were apparently over, both women put on a display of the Olympic spirit that will live on long after the Games are over.

D'Agostino, 24, immediately got up to help her rival - then, as it became clear that she had a right ankle injury, Hamblin tried to help her continue.

Both athletes attempted to start chasing after the pack that had left them. But D'Agostino could not keep going as her knee had apparently twisted awkwardly in the fall.

She told Hamblin to go on as she collapsed on to all fours on the track. But the camera then came back to D'Agostino and she was back on her feet and running again.

Hamblin said: ‘When I went down, I was like “Whats happening, why am I on the ground?” And suddenly there’s this hand on my shoulder like “Get up, get up, we have to finish this.”

‘I’m so grateful for Abbey for doing that for me. I mean, that girl is the Olympic spirit right there.

‘I’m so impressed and inspiring that she did that. I’ve never met her before. Like, I’ve never met this girl before. And isn’t that just so amazing?’

Both Hamblin and D'Agostino were subsequently promoted to the 5000m final on Friday. [x]