Sport is inspirational because it brings out the best in us. The best speed, measured in seconds. The most force, measured in pounds lifted. And the most power, measured in meters thrown. But how do we measure the most courage? What about heart and grit and determination?
The 1992 Barcelona Olympics is associated in a lot of minds with Linford Christie's gold in the 100m sprint. It was memorable for me because the friend I ran around with in school, Arif Hussain, ran heat number 3 of round 1 in a valiant 10.83 seconds, finishing only four places behind Christie (10.48 secs). But the real inspiring story of the track took place away from the 100m, in the 400m semi-finals. It involved British medal hopeful Derek Redmond.
Derek was a medal favourite when he arrived in Barcelona, having previously withdrawn form the Seoul Olympics 400m only 10 minutes before the start of the race due to an Achilles tendon injury. This was the athlete who had shattered the British 400m record at the age of 19. He had five surgeries in the following year and after a long rehabilitation process slowly worked his way to becoming one of the favourites for the 1992 Olympics. The night before the race he strategized for the race with his dad, who was very close to him, and they decided that even if the race didn't go according to plan he would finish it at all costs.
What happened in the race is in the video below. As the commentator says, "he got the cheer of the olympics." Of course, visa made it into an ad immediately (attached below the video as well).