Father Jim Redmond passed away on Sunday at the age of 81. He was the driving force behind one of the most heartwarming and memorable Olympic moments. The British Olympic Association and Reuters both reported the news.
During the Olympic Summer Games of 1992 in Barcelona, it all started. Derek Redmond, a sprinter for Great Britain, was attempting to recover from a string of ailments that had plagued him. He had undergone five surgeries, including one on his Achilles tendon with less than four months until the Games. Four years previously, in Seoul, during the 1988 Games, he tore his Achilles just before the race, ending his hopes of competing in the Olympics.
With the fastest time in the preliminary rounds and a victory in his quarterfinal heat, Redmond had a promising start to his 400-meter race for a medal in Barcelona.
Redmond exploded out of the gates in the semifinals and appeared powerful on the opening straightaway. However, just before the halfway point of the marathon, he suddenly moaned in agony and grasped the back of his right thigh: his hamstring had torn. As the rest of the group continued to run, he collapsed to the track in agony.
Redmond, who was by himself on the track, stood up and started to hop on his left foot. He was focused on finishing the race and took care to stay in his lane. Redmond limped slowly toward the finish line while the audience stood and applauded.
Jim, Redmond’s father, then appeared from the area next to the track. (Who, it should be added, was dressed to the nines in loose shorts, a Nike hat with the words “Just Do It,” white crew socks, and sneakers.)
Jim Redmond ran up to his son and threw his arm around his waist after shooing away authorities who tried to pull him off the track. On his father’s shoulder, Derek cried and then turned. The last few meters of a race that was already over were walked by father and son together.
The finish has been hailed by the Olympic Committee as “one of the most inspirational moments in Olympic history.” Jim Redmond was chosen to carry a torch as part of the national relay for the London 2012 Olympic Games twenty years later.
He told CBS News in 2012 that he felt obligated to assist when he saw his (son) struggling. “To attempt to prevent him from hurting himself anymore, I really walked on the track. The concept came from Derek. I gave him a shoulder to rest on as he requested me to help get him back in that lane.”
In the beginning, Derek Redmond’s father made an effort to convince him not to continue through the pain, according to Derek.
“He was attempting to convince me that I didn’t need to do this and that I didn’t have anything to prove, but I insisted that I would do it to the end. Then he said that we would both do it “2012 saw him speak to the BBC. So we did, and as the son recalled, “I limped over the line in tears.”
According to Jim Redmond, who spoke to Sports Illustrated in 2012, what occurred that day was just instinctual. “Everybody does it. Interestingly, although most people consider doing it, I went there to offer assistance.”
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