It was like something out of a sports movie. Only this time, it was reality, and it happened on the biggest stage of them all–the 2012 Olympic Games.
American runner, Manteo Mitchell, was running the first leg in the 4×400 relay prelims when, about half way through, he heard a terrible pop in his leg. At that moment, he had a choice; he could continue in immense pain, or he could stop and cost himself and his teammates a spot in the finals.
Mitchell, in heroic fashion, decided to fight on.
After finishing his lap in an incredibly solid time of 46.1 seconds, the 25-year-old sprinter from North Carolina hobbled to the side of the track and watched as his American teammates finished the race, easily qualifying for the finals this Friday.
Not long after the race, Mitchell got word that he had suffered a complete break of the left fibula.
Yes, he had finished the last 200 meters with a broken leg.
Afterward, Mitchell said that he didn’t want to let his teammates down.
Even though track is an individual sport, you’ve got three guys depending on you, the whole world watching you. You don’t want to let anyone down.
When asked about what kept him going, Mitchell’s answer was simple.
Faith, focus, finish. Faith, focus, finish. That’s the only thing I could say to myself.
Mitchell’s leg is expected to heal on its own in about 6 weeks, but this Friday, equipped with crutches and a walking boot, he will be watching his teammates, cheering loudly as they try to capture the gold.
And if they do, they will certainly have Manteo Mitchell (who would also receive a medal) and his fighting spirit to thank.