It was Monday night, August 3rd, at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. At the track and field stadium...the gun sounds for the 400 meter semi-finals.
About 100 meters into the race, Great Britain's Derek Redmond crumpled to the track with a torn right hamstring! Medical attendants rushed to assist him but he waved them all aside. He struggled to his feet, stumbled and hopped in a desperate effort to finish this race...at times he was on all fours crawling toward the finish line.
Four years earlier he had qualified for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea...but had to pull out of the race because of an Achilles tendon problem. Following this he'd had 5 surgeries but he had qualified again...but now another career-ending injury!
He said to himself, "I'm not quitting! I'm going to finish this race!" It was agony for the fans to watch. Up in the stands, a huge guy with a NIKE cap that said, "Just Do It!" came barreling out of the stands, hurled aside a security guard, jumped the barrier and ran to Derek's side and embraced him. He was Jim Redmond, Derek's father! Jim was a sports dad who had changed his life for the sake of his athlete son.
NOW...arm around his son's waist, Derek's arm around his dad's thick shoulders, they continued down the track. The crowd is stunned and on its feet, cheering, weeping! Back home his sister, who was pregnant goes into false labor. Mom is weeping in the stands. Derek and his dad work their way around the track until...finally, painfully, they cross the finish line, together!
My first thought...what determination, what a wonderful father...THEN, my thought turned toward God, our Heavenly Father, who will help all of us who need help cross the finish line!
"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me" (Philippians 3:14)!