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Dad who ran onto track, helped injured son finish race at 1992 Olympics has passed away

The never-say-die attitude of the father-son duo was described as 'one of the most inspirational moments in Olympic history' by the Olympic Committee.

Dad who ran onto track, helped injured son finish race at 1992 Olympics has passed away
Cover Image Source: YouTube/Olympics

Jim Redmond, the father of Derek Redmond, who was at the center of one of the most heartwarming and memorable Olympic moments, has passed away at the age of 81. The British Olympic Association confirmed his passing, reports NPR. A sprinter for Great Britain, Jim's son Derek Redmond was attempting to recover from a string of injuries that had benched him. He had undergone five surgeries, including one on his Achilles tendon less than four months before the Olympics. After successfully bagging victories at several international championships—4x400 meters relay gold medal at the European Championships in 1986, 4x400 meters relay silver medal at the World Championships and then a glorious win against the American group at the 1991 World Championships—injuries started hampering his career.



 

 

Four years earlier, at the Seoul Olympics in 1988, he tore his Achilles tendon one hour before the race, shattering his Olympic ambitions. Derek pinned his hopes on a medal at the Olympic Summer Games of 1992 400 meters in Barcelona. He got off to a really strong start. He recorded the quickest time in the preliminary rounds and won his quarterfinal heat. He jumped out of the blocks swiftly and appeared to be in good shape in the semifinals. But just before the halfway point of the marathon, he grimaced in pain and gripped his right thigh, realising that he had torn his hamstring. As the rest continued to race, Derek collapsed to the track in extreme pain, agony and shock. Alone on the track, he started hopping on his left foot. He was focused on finishing the race and took care to stay in his lane. Derek limped slowly toward the finish line as the crowd stood and applauded.



 

 

That's when Derek's father, Jim, emerged from the stands, running up to his son and wrapping an arm around his waist. The authorities tried to stop him but he told them off as they tried to get him to leave the track. Derek sobbed on his father's shoulder and they walked toward the finish line. Father and son walked the last few meters of the race. The iconic moment was applauded by the crowds and was described as "one of the most inspirational moments in Olympic history" by the Olympic Committee. Jim Redmond was chosen 20 years later to participate in the official torch relay for the London 2012 Olympic Games as one of the torchbearers.



 

 



 


In an interview with CBS in 2012, Jim describes what he felt before he rushed to his son's side. "I saw my (son) having a problem and it was my duty to help," Jim said. "I actually went on the track to try to stop him inflicting further damage to himself. It was Derek's idea... He asked me to get him back in that lane and I offered him a shoulder to lean on." What happened that day was pure instinct, Jim said in 2012. "Everyone does it. It just so happens that most people think about doing it, but I actually went on there to help."



 

 

The dad said it wasn't just about winning but also about humanity. "It was just a question of me getting on to help him. The world interpreted that in a different light," the elder Redmond said. "The games had lost that sort of direction. It was all about winning, winning, winning. We changed it by showing we were taking part. We brought a different aspect to it without even planning it."

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