The absolute greatest Olympic moment EVER!

It’s not Michael Phelps blowing away the world with his talent. It’s not Mary Lou Retton winning gold. It’s not even the US hockey team in 1980.

No, the greatest Olympic moment in history is Derek Redmond finishing the race. *From ESPN:

Redmond arrived at the 1992 Olympic Summer Games in Barcelona determined to win a medal in the 400. The color of the medal was meaningless; he just wanted to win one. Just one.

He had been forced to withdraw from the 400 at the 1988 Games in Seoul, only 10 minutes before the race, because of an Achilles tendon injury. He then underwent five surgeries over the next year. This was the same runner who had shattered the British 400-meter record at age 19. So when the 1992 Games arrived, this was his time, his moment, his stage, to show the world how good he was and who he was.*
The 400 meter race starts, and Derek Redmond runs. He runs brilliantly. Until…

Halfway through the the race, the race he’s better at than anyone else in the world, the race he’s waited for and trained for all his life, the race that is the culmination of who he is athletically and what he can do, the race in front of 65000 screaming fans…
Halfway through that race he pulls a hamstring.
Disaster. He falls down.
Derek lies on the track, broken, humiliated and alone. Officials and journalists crowd around him, to document his defeat.
He gets up. He shakes off the crowd of journalists, and starts hopping towards the finish line. The race is over, the American won, but Derek Redmond is going to finish the race. He hops once. He hops again. And he continues to hop towards the finish line. In the crowd, Derek’s father sees that his son needs help, and he gets up to give it.

Meanwhile 65,000 screaming fans realize what is going on and start to cheer Redmond on his slow way to the finish line. Redmond’s father reaches the field and goes to his son, after shrugging off the constraints of security. He runs to his son and supports him, compensating for his injured leg. Derek Redmond and his father cross the finish line to delirious cheers.
THAT is what the Olympics are about.

See the video here Greatest Olympic performance ever.

I tear up just talking about this moment. I had to watch it again to post this, and I’m definitely crying like a baby.

I remember seeing the VISA commercial that used this (and which is one of the related videos on your link page). I wasn’t aware of the full story, which makes it even more meaningful.

It’s making me cry too. And I don’t even follow track events.

It was amazing, the gravitas of the Morgan Freeman narration stopped me from giggling a little at his dad’s hat.

But that kind of stuff, and Eddie the Eel, are what make the olympics more than just faster, higher, stronger.

I remember seeing that - great, great moment. Dust everywhere in my gaff.

Eric the Eel.

Eddie was an eagle.

Bah. That would explain why I couldn’t find the youtube clip.

Eric is an 'alibut.

My nomination is Gabriela Andersen Schiess.

She ran the first Olympic Womens Marathon in 1984. Badly dehydrated as she neared the finish, she was staggering all over the track,unable to control her body. She waved away medical personnel. as she would be disqualified if she was touched. She took almost 6 minutes to finish one lap of the track.

Dan Jansen, 1992 in Lillehammer, Norway. He had lost races in the previous two Winter Olympics, and lost the 500m race that was his speciality. This was his last race at his last Olympic Winter Games. It was an amazing race.


Here’s the video…amazing

I love these types of stories…shows the true nature of the athlete, to finish the race.

Those commentators (and the giggling studio audience) were disgracefuly obnoxious. I’d like to see any of them try to equal that guy’s time or even his heart.

I really must be missing something about the story of this Eric guy. It looked like he didn’t really know how to swim. Was he really the best representative his country had to offer?

That’s the one that always works for me as the best moment. I was in Hawaii when that was happening and contrast that with the dead face that the winner had the entire time (interesting in itself) and you’ve got a great finishing moment.

I think we tend to get so caught up in the glamour of the gold medal chase, the focus of the network on the Americans who will be winners, that we forget just how big, just how amazing the Olympics is. There are thousands and thousands of competitors. The hugely vast majority of them don’t even stand a chance to win a medal. They are just there to compete, to measure themselves against the rest of the world. And in these efforts, it should not surprise us to find people for whom simply finishing is enough of a story.

I wish our networks tended to remember that a bit more. :frowning:

I remember watching that - it was indeed awesome.

IIRC a Canadian sailor turned around and went back to rescue another sailor who had tipped over.

The winner of the Cross Country Ski event stayed at the finish line and cheered on Faisal Cheradi (sp?) from Morraco who finished WAY later.


Tony, according to comments, confirmed by looking up the name of the show, it was a comedic take on sports commentary. There’s a related video where they dump a stuffed toy off a high dive and comment on the “dive” as if it were real. The whole program was taking the piss. Doesn’t make it much less mean-spirited, but does explain it a bit.

Atomicktom, Eric Moussambanihe was included in that Olympics as part of an incentive program to include countries without funds or facilities that are on a par with richer countries. He had been swimming for less than a year before that Olympics. According to that article, he did set a national record, so yes, he probably was the best swimmer around.