erek Redmond arrived at the 1992 Olympic Summer Games in Barcelona determined to win a medal in the 400.
Forced to withdraw from the 1988 Games because of an Achilles tendon injury, he underwent 5 surgeries over the next year. He had shattered the British 400-meter record at age 19. So when the 1992 Games arrived, this was his time, his moment, and his stage, to show the world how good he was and who he was.
Derek’s father Jim had accompanied him to Barcelona. They were as close as a father and son could be. When Derek ran, it was as if his father were running right next to him.
The day of the race arrives. Father and son agree that if anything bad happens, no matter what it is, Derek has to finish the race, period.
Jim heads up to his seat at the top of Olympic Stadium, not far from where the Olympic torch was lit just a few days earlier.
The race begins and Redmond breaks from the pack and quickly seizes the lead. “Keep it up, keep it up,” Jim says to himself. Down the backstretch, only 175 meters from finishing, Redmond is a shoo-in to make the finals. Suddenly, he hears a pop in his right hamstring. He pulls up as if he had been shot.
“Oh, no,” Jim says to himself. Redmond begins hopping on one leg, then falls to the track. A medical unit runs toward him. At the same time, Jim Redmond races to the track. On the track, Redmond realizes his dream of an Olympic medal is gone.
As the medical crew arrives, Redmond tells them, “No, I’m going to finish my race.”
Then, in a moment that will live forever in the minds of millions, Redmond lifts himself to his feet and starts hobbling down the track. Suddenly, everyone realizes that Redmond isn’t dropping out of the race. No, he is going to attempt to hobble his way to the finish line. All by himself.
Slowly, the crowd rises and begins to roar. One painful step at a time, his face twisted with pain and tears, he limps onward, and the tearful crowd cheers him on.
Suddenly, Jim Redmond leaps the railing, and runs out to his son, with two security people chasing him. “That’s my son,” he yells, “and I’m going to help him.”
Jim reaches his son at the final curve, about 120 meters from the finish, and wraps his arm around his waist.
“I’m here, son,” Jim says softly, hugging his boy. “We’ll finish together.” Derek puts his arms around his father’s shoulders and sobs.
Together, arm in arm, with 65,000 people crying, they finish the race. A couple steps from the finish line, Jim releases his son, so Derek could cross the finish line by himself. Then he throws his arms around Derek, both crying, along with everyone in the stands.
“I’m the proudest father alive,” he tells the press. “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.”