Occasionally there are sponsored posts here on TDG as part of the network of SB Nation blogs. This week I'm being asked what was my favorite Olympic moment. This is a tough one because I have a number of favorite Olympic moments and a ton of fond Olympic memories in general.
I often kid that when the Olympics roll around, I really begin to miss the Cold War. This battle of Capitalism vs. Communism was played out with a nuclear arms race and a race to into space but symbolically battles were fought in the Olympics (and Rocky IV, of course). The men's basketball gold medal game in 1972 where the Russians defeated the Americans after some controversy. Nobody forgets the 1980 "Do you believe in miracles" Hockey game was a very symbolic win for capitalism. U.S.A. boycotted the 1980 summer games in Moscow which prompted a C.C.C.P. boycott of the 1984 games in Los Angeles. All of these "battles" and many (many) more were the grand state U.S.S.R to show their superiority to the world and of course the U.S.A. couldn't allow that that to happen.
I really do miss the Cold War. But these are not my favorite Olympic memories. Here is where I made the oddest transition in TDG history.
My favorite Olympic memory has nothing to do with USA vs CCCP, it is the one of the British sprinter, Derek Redmond racing in a 400M qualifying heat in the 1992 Barcelona games. It was just a qualifying race, one that Redmond was expected to do well in and cruise into the finals. Four years prior Redmond was forced to withdraw from the 400 finals just minutes before the race due to an Achilles injury. After surgeries and rehab, Redmond was back on the Olympic stage fighting for a medal.
I'm sure many will remember that as Redmond was heading into the final turn he pulled up lame as his hamstring popped. After he collapsed to his knees he got up, determined to finish the race with over 150 meters yet to go. He began hopping on his one good leg until his father, who had been fighting his way to the track, came to his side to help him finish the race. Better writers than I put the whole even more eloquently...
One painful step at a time, each one a little slower and more painful than the one before, his face twisted with pain and tears, Redmond limps onward, and the crowd, many in tears, cheer him on.
Suddenly, Jim Redmond finally gets to the bottom of the stands, leaps over the railing, avoids a security guard, and runs out to his son, with two security people chasing after him. "That's my son out there," he yells back to security, "and I'm going to help him."
Finally, with Derek refusing to surrender and painfully limping along the track, Jim reaches his son at the final curve, about 120 meters from the finish, and wraps his arm around his waist.
"I'm here, son," Jim says softly, hugging his boy. "We'll finish together." Derek puts his arms around his father's shoulders and sobs.
Moments like these are a huge part as to why I love sports. Determination, competitiveness meets compassion and empathy for a man who when it comes down to it is just like the rest of us. Those of use who are fathers can empathize with the father who just wants to be there for his son, Olympic security be damned. And sometimes we all break down and need help, even if we are an elite, world-class athlete.
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