Derek Redmond: The Man Who Never Gave Up
Unlike Michael Johnson or Jeremy Wariner, Derek Redmond is not the man who would be remembered for his world records, gold medals in World Championships or Olympics. Derek Redmond will always be remembered as the man who defined through his actions the essence of human spirit: perseverance and never give up.
Many dream to reach Olympics, a competition that will ensure through their deeds and performances a place into eternity. But for most participants there is no glory after Olympics, only bitter disappointment. This disappointment is not only the result of a defeat, but a cumulus of four tough years of training and many sacrifices. Even the winners can not stop crying after races.
But Derek Redmond‘s tears were the tears of a true Olympian, a man who did not give up, a hero of modern times. Redmond came to Barcelona 1992 to prove how good he was and to win a gold medal, only one. He did not, but he won the admiration of millions of people.
Redmond shattered the British 400-meter record at age 19, but with 10 minutes before the start of 400 m race in 1988 Seoul Olympics he had to retire due to an Achilles tendon injury. The 400 m runner had five surgeries in the next year, when Derek was near to end his athletic career. The Brit had an incredible perseverance and willpower and managed to recover and in 1992 he was ready to demonstrate his true potential, after he had been harassed by injuries for his entire career. Derek Redmond was the favorite to win the gold medal in 400 m race.
When the day of the race arrived, Derek Redmond was prepared to put aside all the failures and heartbreaks and finish the race. Only 175 m to the finish line, the British athlete collapsed, clutching his leg – torn hamstring. The dream of the Olympics was over for Redmond, but from this moment Derek’s moments of glory started. Most athletes would have waited for the first aid, but in a moment that will remain in the memory of millions of people, Derek lifted up and continued hobbling off towards the finish line. In that moment 65000 people in the stadium and many millions in front of TVs understood that Derek Redmond was not going to retire, but he will try to reach the finish line out of pride and total dedication.
A step in front of the other, slower and slower Derek was crying in agony while he was fighting his way to eternity. Jim Redmond managed to get rid of the stewards and reached on track to stop his son. But Derek Redmond refused to stop, he wanted to fulfill his goal: to cross the finish line. Together they start the last 120 meters of the lap.
65000 people were cheering and clapping for Derek, a man destroyed by injuries, but with an undefeated soul. A couple steps from the finish line, Jim Redmond released the grip he had on his son, so Derek, the man who would inspire generations of athletes, could cross the finish line by himself.
This is Derek Redmond, a man that taught me what determination and perseverance is, that I should pursue my dreams no matter how hard I struggle. Also whenever I think about Derek I know that there will always be somebody near me and will help me to overcome any problem and reach my goal. Thank you Jim and Derek Redmond for these inspiring moments!