“As the gun signaled the start of his semi-final, Redmond charged out of the blocks, making good speed over his first 250m. At that point his right hamstring snapped. The one time British 400m record holder pulled sharply up as the rest of his field ran away from him, leaving Redmond on his knees and crippled, his Olympic dream over.
What followed, however, is one of the most memorable moments in Olympic history. Redmond got back to his feet and tried to finish the race. In an act of true courage against adversity, Redmond could only hop on one leg towards the finish line. Pain etched on his face as each step became more painful than the last, Redmond would not give up. He had promised himself and his father, that he would finish the race ‘no matter what,’ and he would keep that promise.
Half way to the finish line on one leg and crying with desperation, Derek was joined by his father Jim. The moment Redmond crossed the finish line brought sixty-five thousand spectators to their feet in a standing ovation, many also in tears. Few can remember that Steve Lewis of the USA won the semi-final in a time of 44.50. But no one who saw it will ever forget Derek Redmond’s courage on the day he defined the essence of the human and Olympic spirit.”
Carl Lewis celebrates after winning the 4x100 m relay and setting a new world record of 37.40, a time which stood for 16 years, at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Lewis, who won nine Olympic gold medals, turned 54 years old today. (Bill Frakes for SI)