Every Olympics has its moment. A moment of triumph or tragedy that will stand out and mark that Olympics forever. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the defining moment in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona was the tragic race of British runner Derek Redmond. Redmond was almost sure to win the 400m semifinal race. Redmond was in the best condition of his life despite multiple surgeries on his Achilles tendon in the prior four years. As Derek came around the first bend in the track, his hamstring tore. He later told reporters that the pain was so great that at first he thought he had been shot. London’s The Guardian newspaper quoted him, “Everything I had worked for was finished. I hated everybody. I hated the world. I hated hamstrings. I hated it all. I felt so bitter that I was injured again. I told myself I had to finish. I kept hopping round. Then, with 100 metres to go, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was my old man.” For half a lap Derek hopped on one foot, hobbling toward the finish line, until his father helped him finish to a standing ovation. It was a great moment in Olympics history.
3 GREAT LESSONS IN THIS STORY
1. There are no guarantees against obstacles and hardships in life.
2. It’s not always about winning the gold.
There are a lot of analogies to the Olympics in the Bible. In II Timothy 4:7 we learn from Paul that coming in first is not as important as finishing with integrity. He says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
3. We need others to help us finish the race.
Derek’s Father commented: “He was there to finish and I was there to help him finish. I intended to go over the line with him. We started his career together. I think we should finish it together.”
Jim Redmond was chosen to be a torch-bearer for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Can you name someone who has been there to help you in the race of life? OR Who has been a good coach to you, or perhaps someone to lean on?