Chloe Gruenke was competing in the 800-meter race at the Illinois state track when she felt something pop in her leg.
Chloe said she was trying to keep up with the pack but extended her leg a little too far around a curve. She was too injured to finish the race, but her twin-sister Claire Gruenke also happened to be competing at the meet and saw Chloe go down. The 13-year-old Claire ran to her sister to see what was wrong.
“I thought oh my goodness what just happened,” Claire told KSDK. “I went up to her and I said ‘Chloe are you okay?’ and she was like ‘I don’t know. Something just pulled in my leg.’ ”
But Claire knew that her sister had to finish the race, so she decided to take matters in her own hands.
“I put her on my back, and then I started to jog. I got really tired, so I walked the rest and the crowd was just blaring in my ears. That gave me energy to at least finish it,” she said.
As they neared the finish line, Claire put her sister down so she could finish the race on her own, but Chloe refused to finish alone.
“I didn’t want to go first. I wanted to finish with her so I pulled her with me and then we finished,” she said.
Ted Crail, the twins’ coach, said the moment was bigger than any first-place trophy could have been.
“I’ve been coaching for 20 years. I’ve probably been to over 200 track meets. And it’s the first time I ever had tears in my eyes,” said Crail.
This isn’t the first touching show of sportsmanship to make the news. In April, members of the Florida Southern softball team carried an opponent around the bases after she injured her knee running around the bases after a home run.
Softball rules state that it is an automatic out of players from one team touch another, so the only way the player could make it around the bases and score the winning run was if her opponents decided to help — which is exactly what the Florida Southern players did.
The Gruenke twins ended up finishing in last place in the Illinois state track meet race, but their amazing display of sportsmanship was the real winner that day.