He was there to watch. He hadn’t thought about doing something special. But when Jim Redmond saw his son, Derek, fall to the track, grabbing his leg, his face twisted in pain, well, something inside of him snapped.
It was the parental instinct, the love of children, the thing that, hopefully, we all share. That’s what made him jump over the railing and run onto the Olympic track, this fat man from Britain, a machine shop owner in a T-shirt and a cap. If he had thought about it, he might have waited, watched, allowed the medics to help his son, carry his son out on a stretcher. But he didn’t think. He ran. He pushed aside the guards. He found his son.
“Dad,” Derek Redmond said, crying, “get me to the finish line.”
And the two of them, Derek and Jim Redmond, leaning on each other, limping to the tape, while the entire crowd rose to its feet and the other runners turned to salute and even the guards stopped running and began to applaud this father and son, just trying to finish, just trying to make the Olympic moment special — well, if there’s a better picture of what these Games were about, I’d like to see it.
Asked why he did what he did, Jim Redmond, a simple and direct man, shot back: “He’s my son. He was in pain. I am his father.”
Good enough for me.