The 4 Most Inspiring Stories From the Rio Olympics

It’s not all about sport.

Aug 18, 2016
Special Collections: INSPIRE THE GOOD

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The 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro are nearing their end, and incredible feats of athletic strength have been achieved so far. In addition to all the medals and records, some truly inspiring events took place on the sidelines of the competitions. Here are some of the most inspiring stories of the Rio Olympics:

1. GYMNASTS FROM NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA TAKE A FRIENDLY SELFIE

  1. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. South Korean gymnast Lee Eun Ju and North Korean gymnast Hong Un Jong took this to heart when they snapped a selfie smiling together at the sidelines of their competition. While their home countries may still be at war, these two talented girls show that peace starts with each and everyone of us.

2. THESE TWO RUNNERS DISPLAY TRUE SPORTSMANSHIP

US runner Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand both competed in the women’s 5,000-meter event. After about 3,200 meters, the two collided and fell to the ground. D’Agostino got up but saw that Hamblin was hurt and in pain and stopped to help her up. “I went down, and I was like, ‘What’s happening? Why am I on the ground?’” Hamblin said. “Then suddenly, there’s this hand on my shoulder [and D’Agostino saying], ‘Get up, get up, we have to finish this.’ And I’m like, ‘Yup, yup, you’re right. This is the Olympic Games. We have to finish this.’”

3. THE ENTIRE OLYMPIC REFUGEE TEAM

The 2016 Rio Games are the first-ever games to have a team made up entirely of refugees. Made up of athletes from conflict zones, the team was created in an effort "to show solidarity with the world’s refugees." The athlete’s inclusion perfectly embodies the Olympic spirit, transcending borders and nationalities, and simply celebrating unity through sport. As Yiech Pur Biel from South Sudan told the BBC, “Sport gave me a sense of belonging. Even if I don’t get gold or silver, I will show the world that, as a refugee, you can do something.”

4. THIS UBER DRIVER WHO GOT A FREE TRIP TO SEE HIS SON COMPETE

Liz Willock, a sales leader at a concierge service, recently took an hour-long trip through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with Uber driver Ellis Hill. She and the driver began talking and eventually it came to light that he was the father of US shot putter Darrell Hill. Willock asked him if he was going to Rio to see his son compete, but Hill told her he can’t afford the expensive ticket to Brazil. Willock had an idea. The two exchanged information and the following day, Willock created a GoFundMe campaign with the goal of raising $7,500 to send Hill to Rio to see his son. Within days, an outpouring of helpful strangers collected $8,200 and Hill was able to fly to Brazil.

"There has been so much sadness and violence in the news lately and this really restored my faith in humanity," Willock told PEOPLE magazine. "We had over 150 people contribute and I think Ellis knew maybe 10 of them. The rest were strangers."

DAVID RUHM, FORMER EDITOR IN CHIEF
David has a passion for languages and words, and loves to see people happy. He writes about inspiring ideas, amazing technologies and all the wonders of the world.
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