In the 1992 Barcelona 400m semi-final, British athlete Derek Redmond started well, but in the back straight about 250 metres from the finish, his hamstring snapped. He hobbled to a halt, and then fell to the ground in pain. Stretcher bearers made their way over to him, but Redmond decided he wanted to finish the race. He began to hobble along the track. He was soon joined on the track by his father, Jim Redmond, who barged past security and on to the track to get to his son. Jim and Derek completed the lap of the track together, with Derek leaning on his father’s shoulder for support. As they crossed the finish line, the crowd of 65,000 spectators rose to give Derek a standing ovation.
Derek was officially disqualified from the race and Olympic records state that he “Did Not Finish” the race. Two years after the olympics in Barcelona, he was told by a surgeon that he would never run again or represent his country in sport. He then took up professional basket ball and secured a place on the GB basketball team and even got trials for the England Sevens rugby team after taking up rugby.
If this doesn’t represent the Olympic spirit, nothing does. It was an image that no-one will forget that still brings the most stoic people to tears. This group is to persuade the London 2012 organisers to have Derek and Jim Redmond light the Olympic Cauldron.
“They’re the sources of fleeting moments – instants, really – that have become permanently seared in our collective memories. Derek Redmond bravely making it through with a little help.” Barack Obama