Be A Redmond!

Derek Redmond isn’t just a name that reincarnates epic memories of Olympics, but also defines the essence of the human spirit, valor, heroism and gallantry. The name is explicitly a definition of courage!

Force is measured in Newtons, speed in seconds and work is Joules. Courage? One surely cannot measure it. But Redmond has successfully placed a pricelessly priceless price on what it takes to make a remarkable mark.

In 1992, during the Summer Olympics, British athlete; Derek Anthony Redmond got a standing ovation from a massive crowd of 65,000 at Barcelona, leaving them in tears plus indelible memories that have lasted in the minds of the world to date.

He did not win the 1992 gold medal; neither had he set a record as was the dream of every athlete. But he had taught us the value of PUSHING, PERSEVERING AND PURSUING.

Just as all other world competitions, his father had accompanied him to Barcelona. The day of the race arrives! It was the semi-final heat for the 400m race. All eight sprinters are on their marks and the sound of the blast shoots each one of them into jet-speed motion. All eyes are on them as each makes a smooth turn along the tracks – their feet barely touching the ground.

 Redmond was in the lead, and is tipped to triumph again. Earlier he had posted the fastest time in the first round, won the quarter final and was hoping to proceed through to the finale.

But less than 200 meters away from the finish line, disappointment came about! What the Champion had so much dreaded came back to him, fiercely. It must be the worst moment of his life!
His hamstring snapped and tore. He limped and shuffled. He bobbled and hobbled. He felt the pain escalate unbearably. He found himself slowing down do a halt, in an excruciating pain – and fell to the ground! He felt like he had been shot in the muscle. The 27-year old man wailed in anguish.

Earlier he had undergone eight surgeries as his career was repeatedly challenged and blighted by series of injuries. His seven contenders had sped off. They flew off with the medal he had long dreamed of and trained for. He saw his dreams of winning the gold medal shatter.

As the medical team made their way to where he lay, he knew he had to decide. He pulled himself up, DETERMINED TO FINISH THE RACE. He struggled on, with one painful step at a time. Each stride was a little slower and more painful than the one before. By that time, the other runners had finished the lap. Redmond’s face twisted with pain and tears, and the crowd watched in awe and wonder.

Suddenly, a man was seen pushing his way through, heading towards the tracks. He was Jim Redmond, his father. He had been looking on from a distance, in the stands. He meandered his way through the bewildered spectators, dodged security men and the officials and jumped over the railing onto the track to help his son.

‘Well then, if you’re going to finish the race, we will finish it together’.

 Derek leaned on Father’s shoulder for support. Shortly before the finish line, Jim let go off his son to complete the race. And as he crossed the finish line, every Tom, Dick and Harry was on their feet, applauding his act of valor. A massive, colossal standing ovation amidst a thunderous applause!

Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave to attempt it.

This without a doubt has gone down as the most unforgettable moment in Olympic history. The memorable moment does not even feature the winner of the said race, but the ill-fated character who impeccably defined DETERMINATION. The story has not been about the bearer of the most-coveted gold medal, but the man who limped to the finish line. Not a word had been written about the man who won the race in smiles, but the one who finished in pain.

I’m prouder of him than I would have been if he had won the medal. It took a lot of guts for him to do what he did’, his father later remarked.

Redmond will forever have a special place in the bosom of Britain, and will continue to be an inspiration to all and sundry.

Be inspired, and be a Redmond!


Follow me on twitter: @PatrickFynn

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