First-place finishes often garner the most attention, but sometimes, last-place finishes become the most memorable.
During the London Games, that inspirational finish belonged to track star Liu Xiang of China.
Due to an injury, Xiang fell while running a 110-meter hurdle heat on Tuesday. He hobbled around to the side of the track and hopped on one foot to finish, but along the way, he stopped to kiss the last hurdle. Balazs Baji, a hurdler competing for Hungary, then took Xiang's hand and raised his arm up.
Unfortunately, Xiang is no stranger to Olympic heartbreak.
Although Xiang won a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles in Athens in 2004, he had to withdraw from his race at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because of an injured right Achilles tendon, ESPN notes.
Xiang's performance can be added to a list of other inspirational last-place Olympic finishes.
In 1992 in Barcelona, runner Derek Redmond pulled a hamstring during a 400-meter race. After Redmond fell to the ground and grimaced in pain while he tried to keep going, his father made his way onto the track and helped carry him.
In the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania was injured while running the marathon race and finished more than an hour after the winner of the race. He later told a reporter, "My country did not send me 10,000 miles just to start the race; they sent me to finish the race."
Of course, Olympians aren't the only athletes to demonstrate the kind of sportsmanship that captures public attention: Earlier this summer, high school track star Meghan Vogel helped carry her injured competitor across the finish line during a state meet.
"If you work to get to the state meet, you deserve to finish no matter who you are. I was going to make that happen for her no matter what," Vogel told WDTN News in June.