By APH Staff— Olympic runner Abbey D’Agostino stopped by APH this week and gave a very interesting and inspiring talk to the school community about her experience as an athlete, her wins and also her losses.

At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Ms. D’Agostino received international media attention following an incident during a 5000m heat in which both she and New Zealander Nikki Hamblin fell. The two women helped each other finish the race and were allowed to compete in the final. Both athletes were praised for their sportsmanship and “Olympic spirit” and were awarded the Rio 2016 Fair Play Award by the International Fair Play Committee.

The APH community was silent and rapt as Ms. D’Agostino expanded her story beyond that moment, going back into her formative years as she started running and working through a number of sports-related injuries in the ensuing years.  Sometimes Ms. D’Agostino’s lesson was to push forward, through pain and defeat, and back to her sporting life, other times she had to be reminded to take it easy on herself, not push too hard and save time for the self, live one day at a time in the face of frightening odds.

Her message was one of pursuing dreams, balancing demands, having faith, and living for the moment.  In this, Ms. D’Agostino stated, “Resilience is the lesson.”  She shared the progress of her scholastic and professional lives, noting that she went from finding her identity solely in her successes (a drive which exacerbated her sports injuries) to finding the importance of gratitude for moments both rewarding and challenging.

PH students were clearly moved by the talk.  As Julia Sullivan stated, “Her resilience is really notable, especially after she fell at the Olympics.”  Emily Osborn was impressed by Ms. D’Agostino’s personal drive to be the best: “Don’t let yourself, much less anyone else, tell you what to do.”  Molly Geaney summed up the experience briefly:  “She has accomplished so much in her life, it’s really amazing.”  Resilience is a watch-word at APH this school year, and it was truly a joy to have such a heroic and resilient woman such as Ms. D’Agostino come by for an inspirational visit!