Barcelona, Spain 1992 Olympics
Derek Redmond was one of the best. His awards were many and included World Silver and Gold Medals in the 400m and 4 x 400m competitions. He had trained and prepared for the 1992 Olympics. He knew the risks. As an athlete in the 1988 Olympics an Achilles tendon injury forced him to withdraw only a few moments before the race.
Four years and five surgeries later, he was determined to medal in the 400. Barcelona would be his opportunity. No matter what, he would finish strong. During each qualifying race, Derek ran well, recording the fastest time of the first round and winning his quarter-final heat.
Jim Redmond, his father watched in anticipation as Derek settled into the starting blocks for the semi-final race. Derek got off to a clean start and quickly took the lead. His win looked imminent. Then the unthinkable happened. With a pop, his right hamstring muscle tore, and he fell to the ground in agony. Jim, seeing his son in trouble raced from the top row of the stands.
Determined to finish, Derek lifted himself to his feet, his leg quivering, and ever so slowly, hobbled down the track, waving away the oncoming medical personnel. He limped onward, his tear-stained face twisted in agony. The race now over, the crowd of 65,000 rose to their feet and began to cheer. The volume louder and louder as Redmond, in searing pain took one painful step at a time.
His father finally reached the bottom of the stands, leapt over the railing, and with two security officers chasing after him, ran to help. “I’m here, son,” Jim said softly, as he hugged his boy. “We’ll finish together.” Sobbing, Derek placed his arm around his father’s shoulders.
Arm in arm, they continued their painful journey. Just before the finish, Jim released Derek. He completed the course on his own. The crowd in total frenzy responded with a standing ovation. With tears in his eyes, Jim Redmond told the press afterwards. “I’m the proudest father alive. I’m prouder of him than I would have been if he had won the gold medal.”
Derek Redmond’s name will be remembered long after records are broken and medals tarnish. He persevered, and with his father’s help, finished strong.
We too are in a race—the race of life. Our Heavenly Father is our ever-present help. He will never leave or forsake us. He will hold us close, welcoming us home as we cross our final finish line.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7 NIV).
Lisa Buffaloe is a madly in love with God, Christ-follower, happily-married, mom, writer/blogger/speaker. God has helped her through molestation by a baby-sitter, assault, rape, divorce, cancer, death, seven surgeries, and years of chronic illness due to Lyme Disease. For more information, please visit http://www.lisabuffaloe.com/