Cast your mind back to 1992. Bill Clinton became the President of the United States, Apartheid was abolished in South Africa, the Soviet Union officially came to an end, and that year’s Olympic Games were held in Barcelona, Spain.
Today’s incredibly inspirational story comes from the heat 1 of the men’s 400m semifinals, in which 8 competitors from 8 different countries would be looking at a chance for Gold by finishing in the top 4 to progress through to the final.
This particular semi-final had a line up including popular favourite, Derek Redmond. The British athlete was determined to go well in Barcelona after he couldn’t compete for gold in the 1988 Seoul Olympics due to a niggling Achilles heel. By the time the 92′ Barcelona games rolled around, Redmond came straight out of the blocks with a win in his heat and quarterfinal. He looked likely to cruise through to the final.
Unsurprisingly, the semifinal started well for him as he was quick off the start. But 150m into the race, something went horribly wrong for the well-liked athlete. He started to slow on the track with a clear agonising pain, clutching the back of his right thigh. Redmond had torn his hamstring. He came to a stop on the track and knelt down with his head in his hands, his Olympic Dream had (literally) been torn up.
But as a few media personal began to swarm the stricken athlete, what he did next was perhaps one of the most defining moments of the 1992 Olympics. He got up. He then proceeded to hobble down the track, determined to finish the race. Breaking the pain barrier, he was focused on keeping up his momentum.
Still in extreme pain, Redmond’s story wasn’t over, on what looked like the brink of giving up, a man in the stands began to push past the security. Eventually making it onto the track, this man went straight to the aid of Redmond and offered him a helping hand. But it wasn’t just any man, it was his father.
With unimaginable pain still possessing Redmond, his father continued to help him forward as father and son were determined not to give up. Eventually the pair made it to the finish line with the crowd on its feet to congratulate an incredible achievement. Derek Redmond had refused to give up.
For me, Redmond’s story is perhaps one of the most inspiring out there because it demonstrates an unshakeable faith. In the blink of an eye, he had lost his shot at the Gold Medal for his 2nd consecutive Olympics. To be able to pick yourself and continue just seconds after losing your dream shot is a quality I wish I could have. He didn’t let anger and frustrations get to him, and most importantly he didn’t take the easy way out, which would have been on a stretcher.
In remembrance of the event which happened on Thursday this week, Redmond tweeted this.
I hope the next time you ever consider giving up on something, you think of this incredible story. If a torn hamstring couldn’t sway Derek Redmond, nothing can sway you! Never give up and never take the easy way out. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day by taking a more positive can-do attitude to whatever you want to conquer, and remember, just never give up on it.
Author: Steven Walton
Steven Walton is a 16 year old student currently attending St Andrews College in Christchurch, New Zealand. He was brought up with two older brothers and his big passions are sports (especially motorsport), people and writing. He runs his own motorsport blog, Green Flag F1 (www.greenflagf1.com) and is aspiring to be a journalist when he is older.