This article I originally wrote in February 2014 during the last winter Olympics. The message reminds the same.
I would never spend an afternoon watching snowboarding, luge, or the biathlon but somehow every four years it becomes an obsession and I can’t get enough. I have been wondering what it is about the Olympics that draws me and so many others in. I think beyond the races and the competition it is the story. It seems with every event and athlete there is a story to be told. And we love the stories. You don’t need to watch Olympic coverage for very long on television to know that television producers know that the story is important too. We are watching, waiting, and anticipating that inspiring moment.
When it comes to the Olympics there are many inspiring moments and stories through the years. On my list of many is Derek Redmond from the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Derek Redmond, a British athlete, was a medal hopeful competing in the 400 metres. He already had faced disappointment during the 1988 Olympics after suffering an injury to his Achilles. Therefore in 1992 he was determined to finish, and do his best during those Olympic Games. He successfully finished his first round race with the fastest time, ran his quarter final race and was competing in the semi-finals when 250 metres from the finish his hamstring snapped. In intense pain he still managed to get up and hobbled along determined to finish the race. His determination amidst his extreme pain is inspiring on its own, but what happened next is what truly makes the moment memorable. His father makes his way through the stands and onto the track. He fends off security not letting anything get in the way from him getting to his son. He puts his arm around his son’s waist; they embrace, and together finish the race.
The footage of this race has been used in advertising campaigns by the International Olympic Committee, Visa and Nike. It is a story of courage. It is a story of perseverance and determination. It is a story that mirrors what true love between a father and his son can be.
As a Christian, when I watch this video footage I see it as a beautiful illustration for each one of us. The Bible parallels our life on earth to an athlete running the race. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Perseverance, as I would describe it to my students is the ability to keep going in spite of difficulty. Derek Redmond modelled perseverance in his determination to finish the race. We need to live our lives with the same perseverance. When we go through life we are going to have our moments of struggle and pain. We may feel it is hopeless and that we cannot possibly go on. We may struggle on our feet trying to continue on, and it may seem that it is just too much. It is then that we need to remember that we are not running the race alone. God is there running beside us. The Bible promises us that God will never leave us nor forsake us. Just as Derek’s father overcame all obstacles to be with his son, and support him to the finish, God is right beside us ready to see us to the finish as well.