The Amazing Race
“If I hadn’t pulled a hamstring that day I could have been an Olympic medalist, but I love the life I have now. I might not have been a motivational speaker or competed for my country at basketball, as I went on to do. And my dad wouldn’t have been asked to carry the Olympic torch this year, which was a huge honour for him.” –Derek Redmond
8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
All eyes were on Derek Redmond in 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He was highly favored to win the 400 meter semi-final run and for him this was his chance to prove that he’s still the king of the track in Britain. He held the record for the 400 meters with a run of 44.50 seconds in 1987 until 1991. In addition, he had won silver and gold medals for the 4×400 meter relay at the World Championship and European Championships and Commonwealth Games.
Redmond had been training hard for this most awaited moment since he had recovered from various injuries the past years. In 1988 Olympics, he had to be pulled out of the race even before his heat was due because of his achilles injury. And before 1992, he had undergone several operations due to hamstrings injury!
Despite, his desire to win a medal in the Olympics was never altered. The color of the medal did not matter; he just wanted to win one. And he is determined to win one.
This day was the time of his life. And indeed, it was.
Crowds were cheering, all eyes, and cameras were focused on him as he reacted to the gun blow to cue the start of the race. He got a really good start leading the pack without breaking sweat. He’d run his quickest. However, only 175 meters away from finishing, he heard a pop from his hamstrings. He collapsed to the floor, clenching his leg, feeling the excruciating pain in his right hamstrings.
As he watched the other runners finishing the race, he struggled back to his feet and started hopping with one leg. With full effort, he limped faster thinking that he can still catch up and finish the race. Nevertheless, the pain in his leg intensified.
On the other hand, his father Jim, when he saw Redmond in agony striving to finish the race, fought his way on to the track, and barged past the security to get to his son. Hugging him as he lean on his shoulders weeping Jim said, “I’m here son, we’ll finish this together.”
Derek Redmond did not get his much wanted medal that day; in fact, what took place ended his career as an athlete. Yet, he received a much greater medal few people only get; the medal of leaving a legacy to the next generation and the medal of honoring his beloved father.
Blows and life’s injuries are inevitable. The question is that are you willing to endure and finish the race for the sake hearing the words “well done my good and faithful servant”. Matthew 25:21,23
We might have asked the Lord for a better situation in our lives today, but truth of the matter is that all we need is the sufficiency of God’s grace.
Sources: Wikipedia; 50 Stunning Olympic Moments No3: Derek Redmond and Dad Finish 400m, theguardian.com; Derek and Dad Finish Olympic 400 Together by Rick Weinberg, 2011, ESPN.com; Derek Redmond The Day that Changed my Life by Derek Redmond, 2012