The athletes helped one another to their feet and finished the race together, crossing the finish line 54 seconds behind the winner.
The Tokyo Olympics took an unexpected twist for Isaiah Jewett and Nijel Amos on Sunday when they found themselves sprawled on the track next to each other during the 800 meters semifinal. The two athletes had taken a tumble while rounding the final turn and for the briefest moment, it appeared as though their bid for an Olympic medal was over. However, what followed was a heartwarming display of sportsmanship. Turning to each other, the American and Botswanan runners helped one another to their feet and finished the race together. According to AP, Jewett and Amos crossed the finish line 54 seconds behind the winner.
Jewett — the NCAA 800-meters champion from USC — was in the third position with Amos of Botswana right behind him at fourth when the duo fell down. "I was super frustrated, I was so mad because I felt like I had a chance," Jewett said of the moment, reports Los Angeles Times. "I learned from like from all the superhero anime I watch, regardless of how mad you are, you have to be a hero at the end of the day. And that was my version of trying to be a hero, standing up and up and showing good character even if it's my rival or whoever I'm racing, or if anything happened."
Isaiah Jewett wasn't about to hold a grudge after being tripped from behind by Nijel Amos of Botswana in the semifinals of the 800 meters at #Tokyo2020. The 24-year-old American instead helped his rival to his feet and they finished the race together. https://t.co/8NR9msYzTJ— The Associated Press (@AP) August 1, 2021
"I don't want any bad because that's what heroes do. They show their humanity through who they are. They show that they are good people," the runner from California added. Immediately after the race, it wasn't clear what caused the athletes to fall. Jewett said his stride was thrown off after he felt a hit in the back of his heel, which ultimately caused his legs to tangle. "I just fell from there, from what I remember at least," he said. "I just remember hitting my head, too."
The #Olympics does moments of pure generous human spirit better than anything.— Shane Breslin (@shanebreslin) August 1, 2021
- No hard feelings after Isaiah Jewett fell and took out Nijel Amos on last bend of 800m semifinal.
- Barshim and Tamberi celebrate with each other after agreeing to share high jump gold. pic.twitter.com/epPNnxLAa9
Jewett added that Amos immediately offered an apology after their fall. "He's like, 'Sorry,'" Jewett said. "I said, 'It's OK, man.'" While the 24-year-old believed he was clipped by Amos, the ruling indicates that Jewett was responsible for the crash, reports NBC Los Angeles. Speaking to reporters, Amos said he did not know what happened. "I found myself down," he said, "But at the end of the day, that's the sport, and that's the 800. That's what makes it interesting, isn't it?" Although Jewett filed a protest and was "very hopeful" that officials would consider his case to compete in the final, the Olympics information website revealed late Sunday that Amos was advanced to the next round by the referee and Jewett was not.
The American helped rival Nijel Amos of Botswana to his feet, put his arms around him, and they finished together. “That’s what heroes do,” Jewett said.https://t.co/AWNs6ZNbQO— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) August 1, 2021
"This is the 800, so it could end wrong," Jewett said before the ruling on his protest. "I'm super blessed because not a lot of people got to be here. I have to live in that moment, not the moment that just happened. I'm able to go on to this stage and show you guys that this is me. That's what I want to continue to do, to show who I am. If it wasn't today, I'll try again tomorrow. That's not going to stop me from trying to be a hero." Even though the fall put a significant damper on his Olympic medal dreams, Jewett said not finishing the race was never an option.
Nijel Amos and @Isaiahjewett fall with less than 200 meters remaining in the final heat of the men’s 800m semifinal. Looks like Jewett was clipped from behind.— Chris Chavez (@ChrisChavez) August 1, 2021
They got back up and jogged to the finish line together.#TokyoOlympics pic.twitter.com/jL8e2RRjyB
"I always have to finish a race. I got Nigel (Amos) up as well. I could see that he was devastated," he said. "That's what heroes do. They show their humanity through who they are and show that they're good people." His peer's friendly gesture was deeply appreciated by Amos. "You are all united by emotion," he said. "We felt all the emotion when we went down. When we stood up and just tried... to get home. I thought I was in a good position to take this heat, and I can't put words on it."