Derek Redmond, one of the Britain’s most famous athletes, was favourite to win the 400 metres sprint in the 1992 Olympic. He started very well but 250 meters into the race, he felt a severe pain in his leg. He fell to the ground with a torn hamstring. Not willing to give up, he started again amidst pain and tears for he knew that his dream had been shattered. He knew he was not going to win but he still wanted to finish the race. Breaking the security, his father jumped onto the track to help him. He told Derek not to run anymore but Derek insisted. With one hand on his father’s shoulder, he hobbled towards the finish line. Shortly before the finish line, his father let him go alone to finish the race. Over 65000 crowd rose to their feet to give him a standing ovation. This became one of the most inspirational scenes in the Olympic history. Due to injury, Derek could not continue his career as an athlete but ventured into Basketball.
We are often told about developing a never give up attitude. Examples such as Derek tell us that it is possible. We give up for two reasons: setbacks and failures, and/or some unforeseen circumstances like accidents, change of plans etc.
‘Never give up’ attitude can be developed only when we train ourselves to respond to failures that come along the way or to have a new goal if the previous goal becomes unfeasible. Derek said the moment he fell and realized that he was not going to win the race, he changed his goal. He just wanted to finish the race. And, he did that. Later, Derek started playing Basketball and did very well.
We don’t win always. As I wrote in one of my earlier posts – the day you don`t win – a true winner is someone who knows how to accept failures in a dignified manner, and moves on.