The thing I LOVE about YouTube is the fact that you can re-visit and share experiences with people who weren’t with you first time round.  A couple of days ago I was talking to a friend about Derek Redmond, the British athlete – the name might not mean anything to you until I say …….Barcelona….. Olympics 1992.  He was the guy who was tipped to win the 400m and had to pull out in the middle of his semi-final due to a torn ham-string.

Now that in itself isn’t extraordinary – what was extraordinary was what happened on the track straight after the injury.  Derek fell to the ground and then decided to get up and hobble round the remainder of the track in order to complete the distance for which he’d trained so hard; he was joined by his father who leapt from the crowd to support him.

My friend had never seen the footage before so we got the laptop out, searched for it on YouTube and ended up crying like a couple of babies!  Why?  Because apart from the touching scenes of the father supporting his son at a time of massive disappointment for  him, it was very moving to watch a crowd of 65,000 people acknowledge the struggling pair by way of a standing ovation.  Emotional stuff!

Derek Redmond now works as a motivational speaker and I’m sure he’s brilliant at it; he will no doubt use the same mindset of excellence on the speaking circuit which he employed whilst training to be a top athlete.   I’m guessing part of that mindset would be the determination to persevere and keep going when things weren’t going his way; he more than demonstrated that attitude on the track in Barcelona.

He speaks of the Barcelona Olympic event: “I was pissed off with the situation……I know everyone says it’s the taking part that counts, but I wanted to go out and win the bloody thing… wasn’t the best day of my life but as the years have gone by I’ve realised it wasn’t the worst day of my life either.”

Now THAT’S an interesting learning.  I wonder if Derek Redmond has read the poem ‘If’, written by one of our country’s great poets, Rudyard Kipling; it’s quite inspirational.  There’s a bit that would strike a chord with Derek…..

‘I f you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same’.

It’s just possible, in realising that his Olympic disappointment wasn’t the worst day of his life, Derek Redmond might well have read ‘If’.

Perhaps there are events in your life which at the outset have felt crushing in their disappointment, only for you to realise, sometime later, that there was a learning there for you?  If you need some inspiration with that concept, I strongly recommend you read ‘If’ by Kipling.

Oh yes, I’ve posted a video of  Derek Redmond persevering and completing his event against the odds on my YouTube channel (……a tip though…..have the tissues ready just in case!