The word “victory” comes from the Old French victoire meaning, “to overcome.” Victory means something different to all of us, but undoubtedly we are our own harshest critics. On our hardest days, it can be difficult to appreciate the work and dedication that it took to get us into the race, and while we may not always see the fruits of our labor in the ways that we imagine, there is honor in doing the good work.
This clip of Derek Redmond, a British sprinter and favorite for the 400 metres semi-final race in Barcelona’s 1992 Olympic Games is a portrait of endurance, humility, and acknowledgement of that purest definition of “victory.” After tearing his hamstring shortly into the race, he pulls himself up in an attempt to finish. From the sidelines, his father rushes to his lane to support him as he crosses the finish line. As Redmond attempts to cover his tearful face as he crosses, his father pulls his arm down, determined to show his pride for his son – he sees the “victory” in all that he has overcome.
In an alternate world, the globe would be gathered together this month for the Olympics, one of our most symbolic representations of unity. In its absence, we find unity in other ways – and we certainly have much to overcome together. What perceived failures are you struggling to make sense of? How can you find pride in all that you’ve accomplished when you feel discouraged? How can you support your loved ones, your neighbors, and your community across the finish line?
Brianna Curran, Washington, DC