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The most famous Olympian to finish last – and still be a winner
The finest Olympic moment? There are hundreds to choose from. But the most moving Olympic moment? There’s no competition.
Derek Redmond. Barcelona. The 400m semi-finals.
The background to the race was promising. In the first round, Redmond completed his fastest 400 metres in four years.
I was feeling absolutely 100% before the race,” he admits.
But 150 metres into the race, Redmond felt a ‘pop’, the unmistakeable sound of a snapped hamstring. He pulled up sharply, grabbing the back of his leg with the pain forcing him to his knees.
Determined to finish the race, Redmond forced himself back to his feet.
The thought that went through my mind, as crazy as it sounds now, was ‘I can still catch them. I just remember thinking to myself, ‘I’m not going to stop. I’m going to finish this race.’
As the athlete struggled, his father Jim fought his way to the track. When his son refused to stop despite the father’s please, Jim’s response was simple:
Well then, we’re going to finish this together.
Finish it they did. Slowly. Painfully. And to a standing ovation from 65,000 in the stadium. Not to mention countless millions watching at home.
Sports Illustrated described Derek Redmond as become the most famous Olympian to ever finish last in an Olympic race.
But, for me at least, he’ll always be a winner.
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