I know it’s early (still a couple more days to go) but I am ready to call my most amazing moment of this Olympic Games. I have a new hero.
In a qualifying heat of the men’s 4x400m, American Manteo Mitchell ran the last half of his 400m section on what was later determined to be a broken leg. After 100m he knew something was wrong and by 200m he felt something snap. In an article in the Toronto Star he says, “I saw Josh Mance motioning me in for me to hand it off to him, which lifted me. I didn’t want to let those three guys down, or the team down, so I just ran on it. It hurt so bad.”
Understatement of the year!! He still finished his leg of the race in less than 44 sec, which is a competitive time by anyone’s estimation. As a result, they qualified and finished later in the day (with an alternate running for Mitchell) with a silver medal. Give that man two of ’em!
Other famous broken legs come to mind. My favourite is Bill Barilko‘s game seven, overtime, cup winning goal in 1951 against the wretched Montreal Canadiens. (Was that too strong?) But in the case of Barilko, his leg was frozen before the overtime began, and playing the point just doesn’t quite compare to an all-out, 400m sprint with no freezing.
The most amazing thing for me is not that he ran with a broken leg, but the reason he did it. He didn’t want to let the other guys down. That is teamwork. Without a doubt. I am speechless.