Monday, February 27, 2012

Last Place

Ricky Bobby's dad taught him, "if you're not first, you're last." There may be truth to that adage and It's true that no one remembers the NFL teams that didn't get to the Super Bowl. That doesn't mean that last place finishes can't be inspiring and memorable.

In the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, John Stephen Akhwari was running the marathon for Tanzania. He dislocated his knee part-way through the race, but continued on to be the last runner to finish. The next closest runner finished almost 20 minutes ahead of him. When asked why he didn't just stop, he replied, "My country did not send me 10,000 miles just to start the race; they sent me to finish the race."

Derek Redomond's story from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics is another great last-place story. Sadly, I couldn't find a version of the original run with sportscaster's call in English, so I have this one with bad music, but without commentary. Just know that it was his hamstring that caused the problem and his father who helped him finish.

I'm sure that if I looked, I could find more inspiring stories about last-place finishes. Just remember that Ricky Bobby's dad wasn't right and there's no shame at all in finishing last. In fact, a last place finish may make you famous.

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