Derek Redmond enjoyed a long and successful athletics career during the 1980s and 1990s which saw him break the British 400m record twice and challenge American dominance of the event. He was a prominent member of the British 4 x 400 metre relay squad that took gold at the 1991 World Championships, the 1986 European Championships and the Commonwealth Games of the same year.
He is perhaps best remembered for an incident during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics 400m semi-final which in 2012 was voted the 3rd greatest Olympic moment in history in a poll of viewers of the US broadcaster NBC. Even President Barack Obama once referred directly to Derek’s perseverance on the day as a prime example of the Olympic ideal.
Tipped as one of the favourites for gold, Derek unfortunately tore a hamstring on the back straight but, full of determination, picked himself up to somehow finish the race. He and his father, Jim, who had made it through security onto the track to help, were cheered home by the Spanish crowd in incredible scenes that summed up the power of the human spirit.
The injury Derek sustained that day was worse than at first thought and, after seven operations in under two years, he was forced to retire from athletics. However, he isn’t the type of man to give in and, in a resolute response to his specialist saying that he’d never represent his country again, Derek went on to play basketball for England and just missed out on an England Rugby 7s cap – yet more evidence of his ability to excel at almost any discipline!