Monday, September 5, 2011

Determination and Commitment

Swimmers here is a story from the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico. This is a great story about John Steven Akhwari and his determination to not just compete but to finish the race that his country sent his to finish. Akhwari was entered in the Olympic Marathon and had trained long and hard for his event. He went to Mexico with great pride for his country, and with the determination to represent his country in the highest possible manner. Almost right at the start he faced some incredible challenges that should have stopped him, and certainly no one would have faulted him for dropping out of the race. Yet his personal commitment to to his personal goals and country, he put the pain of the fall and the race behind him and he preserved to complete what he went to the Olympics to do-compete in and complete the Olympic marathon. Read and enjoy this little excerpt from the Mexico City Olympic Games.

Mexico, 1968

Out of the cold darkness he came. John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania entered at the far end of the stadium, pain hobbling his every step, his leg bloody and bandaged. The winner of the marathon had been declared over an hour earlier. Only a few spectators remained. But the lone runner pressed on.

As he crossed the finish line, the small crowd roared out its appreciation. Afterward, a reporter asked the runner why he had not retired from the race, since he had no chance of winning. He seemed confused by the question. Finally, he answered:

"My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish."

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