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Derek Redmond

Derek Redmond

Date of Birth: 1965

Born: Bletchley, Bucks

Club: Birchfield Harriers

Coached by: Tony Hadley


An Unforgettable Moment

A Survey was taken in the USA of the most memorable moments in Olympic history and the top 10 included just one British performance. It was not the epic triumph of Sebastian Coe or the 100m glory of Linford Christie. The race was a semi-final of the 400m from Barcelona in 1992, and it did not even feature the winner. It was all about the man who limped home last, held up his father.

Derek Redmond will always have a special place in the heart of the British public for the events of that afternoon in Spain when injury forced him to pull up in the race and his dad Jim leapt from the stand to help him around the track. But only months earlier he had been part of one of Britain’s finest triumphs. 

 

Tokyo Joy

Redmond won the English Schools junior 100m title in 1983 but his name first came to prominence in the 400m a year later when he had a best of 46.32 for the one-lap distance and 12 months later, he broke David Jenkins' 10-year-old British record with 44.82 at the age of just 19. He won 4 x 400m relay gold at the European Championships in Stuttgart in 1986 before improving the British record to 44.50 in 1987. The latter was in the semi-finals of the World Championships in Rome, at which he was fifth in the final before winning a silver medal as the British team set a national 4 x 400m record. But on the final day of the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo - September 1 - Redmond was part of the quartet of Roger Black, John Regis and Kriss Akabusi which beat the USA in a thrilling finale to the competition. He ran a brilliant second leg of 44.15, having been fourth in the 400m final, but the following summer he would be front page news. 

 

Dad’s The Word

Redmond’s career was affected by injuries. He failed to finish the 400m final at the Olympics in Seoul when he sustained an Achilles problem and four years later, when the same happened in the semi-final, there was hardly a dry eye in the house of 65,000 spectators. Redmond was looking to progress into the final of the 400m at the Olympic Games in Barcelona. Along the back straight, his hamstring snapped and Redmond halted, falling to the ground, before pulling himself up, determined to finish the race. His father had been watching from the stands close to where the drama had unfolded and, dodging his way past officials, he jumped over the railing onto the track to help his son, chased by two security guards. Redmond did not know who it was before insisting he has to finish the race Jim Redmond replied: "If you are going to finish the race, we will finish it together.“ With his dad ensuring he kept his balance, arm in arm they made their way around towards the finish line. “I'm the proudest father alive," said Jim. "I'm prouder of him than I would have been if he had won the gold medal. It took a lot of guts for him to do what he did.” Redmond said later: "I don't think I've ever cried so much in my life. It's more embarrassing than anything else-men don't cry." 

 

Changing Sports

In Barcelona, Redmond met British swimmer Sharron Davies and in 1994 they were married, before separating in 1999. He had switched sports, rarely running again, and played basketball for Birmingham Bullets. He worked as a motivational speaker and in 2005-08 took up a job as senior co-ordinator for sprints and hurdles at UK Athletics.

 

International Championships

1983: sf 400m, 4th 4x400m European Juniors

1985: 3rd 400m & 4x400m European Cup

1986: 4th 400m, 1st 4x400m Europeans

1987: 5th 400m, 2nd 4x400m Worlds

1989: 9th 400m, 4th 4x400m World Cup

1991: sf 400m, 1st 4x400m Worlds

1992: sf 400m Olympics

 

UK Internationals: 11 (1984-92)

 

National Championships

Won AAA 400m 1991, AAA U20 1984

 

Personal bests

100m 10.2 (1987), 10.78 (1988); 200m 21.06 (1990), 21.0w (1985); 300m 32.32 (1988), 400m 44.50 (1987), 800m 1:55.3 (1984)

Indoors: 400m 47.32 (1992)

UK 400m records 1985 and 1987. European & Commonwealth 4x400mR records 1987 & 1991. UK junior record 4x400mR 1983.