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18th Aug 2016

There’s a fourth sort of Olympic medal and no one really knows about it

Wait what?!

Cathy Donohue

Gold, silver, bronze and the Pierre de Coubertin medal.

While popular opinion is that there are three types of Olympic medal, it seems there’s another award given to people who make special contributions to the Games.

Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee in 1894 and the medal was established in his honour back in 1964.

It is a decoration that can be awarded to an athlete, sports promoter and sporting officials that have displayed epic sportsmanship, or sportswomanship as the case may be.

However, the interesting thing about this medal and the reason why it’s not well known is because the Pierre de Coubertin award isn’t awarded at every Olympic Games.

Pierre de Coubertin
Pierre de Coubertin

Spotted on Mental Flossthe medal is only given to someone when the Committee believes that they are truly worthy of it.

Lawrence Lemieux, a Canadian sailor, was in the running for a silver medal during the Seoul Olympics in 1988, when he noticed fellow sailors in distress.

He immediately went to help, foregoing his place in the race, and pulled both competitors into the boat.

Lawrence finished 11th in the end but he was actually given a second place finish and awarded the outstanding contribution award.

This year, there are two women who could absolutely qualify for the Pierre de Coubertin medal: Abbey D’Agostino of the U.S. and Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand.

Both competed in the 5,000-meter event earlier this week and unfortunately at one point during the race, the pair collided on the track.

Hamblin got up from the ground first and when she noticed D’Agostino was struggling, she went to help her.

However, D’Agostino sustained a leg injury in the fall and although she couldn’t run properly, she refused to give up and kept going.

The pair finished last and next to last, with Hamblin in 16:43.10, and D’Agostino limping to the line in 17:10.02.

There is absolutely no doubt that the pair are deserving winners of the Pierre de Coubertin medal and you can watch how their race unfolded below.