Nikki Hamblin, the Kiwi runner who made world headlines for embodying the Olympic spirit, has completed an eventful Games by finishing 17th in the 5000m final.

Hamblin clocked 16 minutes 14.24 seconds, well down on gold medallist Vivian Jepkemoi Cheryuiot of Kenya who recorded an Olympic record of 14:26.17.

Hamblin, a 1500m specialist, has run only three times over the longer distance, and has a best of 15:18.02 for the event.

The 28-year-old sparked interest during the 5000m heats when she tangled with American runner Abbey D'Agostino and crashed to the ground with less than 2000m remaining.


The pair helped each other up, and finished the race well behind the rest of the field but were added to the field for the final after appeals by their teams.

D'Agostino, who ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament in the fall, was too badly injured to start the final.

Hamblin escaped with grazes and bruises but was still not at her best in today's final.

"There was a little bit of a shoulder problem, and a sprained ankle, but everyone goes to the start line less than perfect at this level," she said.

"My ankle doesn't quite work the way I want it to work, and 12 laps felt like quite a long way."

Hamblin said a flurry of interviews - 10 in a row the day after the fall - had kept her and D'Agostino busy, but she'd been able to escape the media interest for the last couple of days.

"I tried to stay in the bubble, knowing I still had to compete tonight," she said. "Yesterday I did nothing but hide in my room, and today was the same, just to get ready ... because I was still here to compete and put my best out there.

"You can't choose what happens to you, but you can choose what you do about it, and I wanted to be brave and go and run in an Olympic final."