2020 Tokyo Olympics: Watch 800m Runners Trip During Race, Put on Awesome Display of Sportsmanship

by Suzanne Halliburton

Sometimes, we get a reminder of what the Tokyo Olympics really are about. That moment came early Sunday in a mostly empty track stadium during a semifinal heat.

The men were in the midst of running the last semifinal of the 800 meters. And as American Isaiah Jewett and the rest of the field began their kick towards home, he touched feet with Nijel Amos of Botswana. Amos was a favorite for gold.

They both fell.

So what do you do in the immediate aftermath of a fall as your Tokyo Olympic dreams crash and burn. You help each up, support each other and try to finish the race. The two walked with an arm draped across the other.

The Tokyo Olympics social media account posted a video clip moments after the race. “After having their races cut short, Isaiah Jewett and Nijel Amos showed the ultimate sportsmanship.”

Take a look. Your Sunday definitely will be better for it.

After Big Fall in Tokyo Olympics, Jewett Said He Did What His Mother Told Him

An NBC reporter asked Jewett what happened with the race. And Jewett told the reporter he did it because of how he was raised.

“It’s what my mom taught me,” Jewett said. “Always finish what you started.”

Somebody should stitch that saying into a pillow.

There is a chance that track judges can send Jewett through to the finals. There has been no ruling, as yet.

Jewett is a rising middle-distance runner from the United States. This is his first Olympics. He earned his spot by finishing second at the Trials.

When Jewett heard the bell to signal the final lap of the race, he was in fourth place. This was about qualifying for the finals, so strategy is more about placement. Runners go all out on the final stretch as they kick into warp drive. Except with about 150 meters to go, Jewett fell.

Amos was putting the sports fans of an entire country on his shoulders. After all, he won the silver medal in 2012 at the London Olympics. It was the first medal ever won by an athlete from Botswana.

Amos thought the Tokyo Olympics could provide a different chapter to his illustrious career.

“I still can’t put my head around it,” Amos told reporters after the race. “I am crazy about it, but that is 800. These things happen. 

“I thought I was in a good position to take this heat and I can’t put words on it,” he said.

Amos Won His Country’s First Medal Back in 2012

It’s true. As Amos said, these sorts of sports agony stories happen. You spend years training for a race and one second cuts you at your knees. Before the race, he was musing about his career, especially his moment in London.

“I was just a young kid who just runs [with] nothing to lose,” Amos said. “You know, eventually, the brain gets some scars, you know, you start thinking a lot. I’m getting back to breaking those scars again, trying to find that little boy [again] and turn it on.” 

Amos didn’t win. Neither did Isaiah Jewett. Yet, they provided a moment for all little girls and boys around the world. Too often, sportsmanship and grace are just buzz words. But Sunday showed how you do it right.