When you Make the Choice to be Awesome.
Being awesome isn’t an accident.
It’s a choice you make every time you decide not to quit.
When you decide that despite the pain, the tears, your fears, your failure — despite all that, you will not quit.
It’s a Choice.
You choose to look past your confusion, past all the baggage holding you back, and just be awesome.
All the odds pointed to Derek Redmond being the winner of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona in the 400 meter sprint. During his career he had already won the World Championships, European Championships, and the Commonwealth Games in the 400 meter sprint and 4×400 meter relay. In fact, he was the British Record holder.
And as the gun sounded for the beginning of the race, he surged to the front of the pack. For 150 meters, he ran at a blistering pace. He was sure to set a new Olympic Record. But then he pulled up with a limp.
He had completely torn his hamstring muscle from the bone. In excruciating pain, he fell to the ground and rolled to his back. With his arms crossed behind his head, he thought about his dreams for Olympic Gold.
As the other runners crossed the finish line, medics quickly hurried to Derek with a stretcher to help him off the field. And it was in this moment that Derek created a story that the world will never forget.
He stood up.
In spite of the alarm bells screaming in his brain and without a muscle attaching his pelvis to his leg, he started to hobble the remaining 250 yards to the finish line. The crowd slowly stood to their feet, watching as he began to swing his arms madly, pulling himself forward as he jumped from his good foot.
Step. After step.
Suddenly, from the stadium, an older man started to make his way through the crowd, fighting through security trying to hold him back. On the track, he ran to his son, Derek, placed his arm around his shoulder and begin to walk slowly around the track with him.
“You don’t have to do this,” he said.
“Yes I do” was all that Derek could say. The pain so intense that he winced between words as tears streamed down his face.
And so with a father holding a son, and a son holding a leg that didn’t have a muscle to move, they headed toward the finish line. And as 65,000 fans stood transfixed by the scene in front of them, Derek’s father paused a few feet in front of the finish line so that Derek could finish on his own.
Almost two decades later, no one remembers who won that race. But millions of us remember the spirit of a man who refused to not cross the finish line.
Quitting wasn’t just easier.
Quitting was the right thing to do…
It was the logical thing to do. It was what he was supposed to do.
But he didn’t.
Instead, he made a choice to be awesome.
I’ve been there before. So have you.
It’s so hard to keep going sometimes that you really don’t even know if you can make it.
But you do. And you will.
Because in that moment you’ve made a choice to be awesome.
And that might just be the best choice you’ll ever make.
— Care to see Derek in that race from 1992? —
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