Starting Together Finishing Together

Derek Redmond
Young British Runner
Shattered his country’s 400 meter record at nineteen
Sport’s injury forced him to withdraw from the 1988 Olympics
Five separate surgeries to correct the problem

1992 Summer Olympics, Barcelona
65,000 fans streamed into the stadium
Derek’s father was a faithful witness to every one of his son’s world competitions.
Wearing a T-Shirt, “Have you hugged your foot today?”

Race began
Derek broke through the pack and took the lead.
Headed down the back stretch.
Heard a pop.
It was his right hamstring.
Pulled up lame, looking as if he had been shot.
Began to hop on the other leg.
Fell to the track.

“The jinx has struck again!”

Medical personnel ran toward him as he sprawled on the ground, holding his right hamstring.

Stir in the stands.
Seeing his son in trouble,
Jim desperately worked his way down toward the track.
No credentials.
Not supposed to be on the track.

Tears poured down Derek’s face.
All he could think of was, “I don’t want a DNF!”
Derek could not stand the thought of having a DNF written beside his name at the Olympics
“I’m not getting on that stretcher”
“I’m going to finish my race.”
Started hopping
One painful step at a time.
Derek limped onward.

Fans rose to their feet.
Began to cheer.
Louder and louder.
Building into a thunderous roar.

Jim reached the bottom of the stands.
Vaulted the railing
Dodged the security guard
Ran to his son
“That’s my son out there”
“I’m going to help him.”

Reached his son.
“I’m here son.”
“We will finish this together.”

Derek put his arms around his father’s shoulders and sobbed.

TOGETHER, arm in arm,
Father and son
Struggled toward the finish line
65,000 people cheering, clapping, and crying.

Within a few feet of the finish line Jim released the grip he had on his son, so that Derek could cross the finish line by himself.

“I’m the proudest father alive.”
“I’m prouder of him than I would have been if he had won the gold medal.”

Together, they kept a promise they had made—
To finish the race…no matter what!
Jim Redmond’s words:
“Whatever happens he had to finish.”
“And I was there to help him.”
“I intended to go over the line with him.”
“We started his career TOGETHER.”
“I think we should finish it TOGETHER!”

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

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