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In any given Olympiad since 1996 in Atlanta the athlete count has easily risen to over 10’000 participating sportsmen and sportswomen. Every single one of them coming ready to run their fastest, jump their highest, to just try their best to make their country proud.

While there are always favourite athletes to win, people also look forward to hearing the story of the underdog who came like the dark horse at the corner of the race to storm the finish line and take the gold. Heroes and legends are made out of these moments and athletes come hoping to make their mark of greatness.

I mean, this event only comes every four years and barely lasts more than a fortnight. Seventeen days, sixteen if you leave out a day for the opening ceremony, does an athlete have to prove that they are worthy of the title of an olympian.

However, sometimes, the worth of an athlete and the mark that they leave on the Games isn’t shown by what they win alone. Some athletes are remembered for the courage they show to do their best and the dignity in their defeat.

I have many Olympic Memories that I’m sure I won’t all be able to share with you but the ones I remember most vividly are not the exciting, blood-pumping, scream and jump up and down moments but the ones that show the good things in man. The respect for their team-mates and opponents, the joy and love for the sport, the humility and most importantly the courage to keep going and just do your best despite the outcome.

So this week I leave you with one athlete’s courage. One out of 1000’s that quite unexpectedly ended up leaving his mark of greatness in a way that even he never dreamed he would. I was too young during the 1992 Olympiad to see it first hand but when the feature was shown during the promotions for the Australia 2000 Olympiad, and I really became aware of it for the first time, well, first of all I cried.

I’m a real sap, people don’t know just how much but, it said to me that there are some things that you just have to do despite the consequences. I mean, he could have damaged his leg further. He may have never ran or walked again and I could only imagine the pain he was in, but he kept going.

Celebrate Humanity – Courage (don’t mind it’s in Portuguese, the audio is in English)

It also said to me that despite the physical state of a person, the determination of the heart is a powerful thing, that can drive you up the tallest mountain and keep you going even after all your strength is spent. Which is why I have also added the inspirational words spoken by Andrea Bocelli. All videos are from the Celebrate Humanity series from the 2000 Olympics, mainly because that’s the way I remember seeing them first. However you can check the web like I did for other videos and news on the event, and if you haven’t guessed the athlete by now, it’s Derek Redmond. So enjoy and remember, the most powerful muscle is the heart. Don’t cry now!

Celebrate Humanity – Andrea Bocelli – The Strongest Muscle

Written by – Travesaou

NB: I’ve included an extra video on Derek that I found for those of you who want to see more. WARNING: This one will definitely make you cry, if you are a sap like me, DO NOT WATCH!