NOTE: You MUST click on the video link at the bottom of this piece to receive the full impact of this incredible story…
If things are getting tough in life, realize that the enemy is only trying to wear you out because he knows what is about to be revealed in you.”
There are many great names that might come to mind if I were to ask you to name a top Olympic sprinter and champion. You might say Carl Lewis or Jesse Owens, but gold medals aside, the greatest act of courage and determination in an Olympic history race was demonstrated by Derek Redmond. Never heard of him? Let me tell you who he is, and about his amazing race.
Derek Redmond was born on September 3rd, 1965. He is now a retired British athlete. His relay team won gold medals in the 4 x 400 meter relay at the World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games. Derek held the British record for the 400 meter sprint. At the 1991 World Championships, he and his teammates shocked the world by beating the favored American team to claim the gold medal in the 4 x 400 meter relay. Redmond ran the second leg in the final. Together with his teammates, they ran the second-fastest 4 x 400 meter relay in history.
Derek was often injured during his career. Going into the 1992 Olympics, he had undergone eight operations due to injuries, but seemed in top form heading into the Olympics in 1992. In the first round of the 400 meter dash, Derek posted the fastest time and easily went on to win the quarter-final race. It was in the semi-final run that he would be best remembered. That day, he and his father discussed what it had taken for Derek to get to that point. They spoke about ignoring past heart breaks and failures. They agreed that no matter what happened, Derek would give it his all and always finish the race—and that is exactly what would happen.
In the semi-finals, Derek was the favorite. He started off quickly and seemed poised to win when suddenly, tragedy struck, as he heard a pop in his right hamstring. He felt as if he had been shot, as his leg went lame. Having torn his hamstring, he hobbled to a halt and fell to the ground. As Derek laid on the track in utter pain, he clutched the back of his quivering leg. With tears running down his face, he knew his hopes of winning a gold medal had finished.
The medics rushed to his aid with a stretcher. But as they arrived to carry him off the track, in a moment that will live in infamy, Redmond lifted himself to his feet. Suddenly, a man appeared on the track behind him, fighting his way through the security guards that tried to stop him. The man was Jim Redmond, Derek’s father. As soon as Jim saw his son go down, he had left his seat, made his way over the barriers and headed toward him. Although he did not have credentials to be on the track, all he could think about was helping his son get up. “I wasn’t going to be stopped by anyone,” he later told the media.
When he reached Derek, he was crying in anguish. “I’m here, son.” Hugging his boy, Jim told him, “We’ll finish together.” Derek put his arm around his father’s shoulders to finish what he started. He refused to surrender and painfully limped along the track with his dad’s arm supporting his waist. Slowly, fighting through the agony, Derek hobbled toward the finish line. The excruciating pain was evident on his face, but he pushed himself to finish the remaining lap of the race long after the other participants.
In total disbelief, the crowd rose to their feet and began to applaud. Their roar grew louder and louder, as they cheered him on every step of the way. As Derek and his father Jim crossed the finish line, the 65,000 viewers in attendance went completely wild. Every single person was standing on their feet and applauding the great moment in history they had witnessed. Redmond had finished what he had started, and he had done so heroically. He finished dead last, but he still finished.
“I’m the proudest father alive,” Jim told the press afterwards, with tears in his eyes. “I’m prouder of him than I would have been if he had won the gold medal. It took a lot of guts for him to do what he did.”
Derek Redmond did not finish first, but he finished, and he finished the hard way. He was hurt, in agony, in pain and struggling when it seemed all hope was lost. He was determined to give it his all no matter what the outcome. His eyes were fixed upon the finish line and he was steadfast in accomplishing his goal.
Like Derek’s father, we too, have a Heavenly Father that is motivated by His love for us. Our Heavenly Father sees and knows our pain. Our Heavenly Father is there to pick us up when we fall. Our Heavenly Father will rush to our side and support us every step of the way, no matter the circumstance. God loves us and will ALWAYS come to our rescue.
If you are down, if you are hurt, if you are struggling to take the next step, know that God is standing right beside you. Reach out and take His hand, place your arms around His shoulders, and let Him support and guide you to the finish line. God will help you finish the race because He loves you.
Watch this video of the event as it happened, and grab a Kleenex, as it is very touching.
2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.