August 15th, 2010

A Lesson in Winning the Race

by Jacqueline Whitmore

Derek Redmond, one of Britain’s greatest athletes, competed in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona when his hamstring snapped in the 400 metres semi-finals and knocked him to the ground.

As all the other runners raced past him, Redmond saw his Olympic dream vanish before his eyes. Determined to finish the race, Redmond struggled to his feet, fought through the pain, and started hobbling towards the finish line.

Suddenly an amazing thing happened. Derek’s father, who was sitting in the stands, bolted out of his seat, dodged the security guards, jumped onto the track, and rushed to his son’s aid. He put his arm around his son’s waist and encouraged him to keep going. And as the crowd rose to their feet in applause, father and son made their way around the track to the finish line together. Redmond did not win an Olympic medal but with the help of his father, he finished the race. This scene has become one of the most enduring moments in modern Olympic history.

Here are four principles that I gleaned from Redmond’s experience:

  1. The race begins when you put one foot in front of the other. You don’t have to come in first to be a winner; you just have to get in the game. If you live a life of complacency, you’ll never accomplish anything.
  2. If you want to win, you’ll have to shed some blood, sweat and tears. It’s those challenging times in life that build character. Also, the rewards are that much sweeter when you’ve experience some bitterness along the way.
  3. Don’t be afraid to lean on others occasionally. We were not put on this earth to accomplish everything alone. There will be times in life that you will need another person’s help, advice or encouragement. Don’t let your pride get in the way of asking someone to help you accomplish your goals.
  4. You’ll experience your greatest emotional growth when life isn’t going your way. The universe has a way of testing us to see what we’re really made of and how we react to adversity. A positive mental attitude is critical to one’s success as well as a speedy recovery.

I’d love to know what lessons you learned from watching this video.

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3 Responses to “A Lesson in Winning the Race”

  1. Suzanne Nourse on August 15th, 2010 3:52 pm

    So many words immediately came to my mind watching and reading this: Courage, determination, family, despair…and on a selfish note, if we had to wipe away tears, it means that we feel compassion and empathy.
    Now I want to find out how he dealt with the public end to his Olympic dream.

  2. Penny on October 6th, 2010 4:22 pm

    I cried when I saw the video. Not because it was sad, but because of Redmond’s strength and how everyone in the stands stood up and were so proud of him.
    I liked everything you said. We learn so much from the challenges in our lives. We become better people because of them.

  3. Jacqueline Whitmore on October 6th, 2010 4:47 pm

    Thank you for your nice comment, Penny! I enjoyed hearing from you! ~Jacqueline

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