Putting the Team on Your Back

August 9, 2012

The most incredible thing I have ever seen happened today in the morning session of Track and Field at the Olympics.  It was during qualifying for the Men’s 4X400 relay.  (For track noobs this race consists of 4 people on each team running a full lap around the track for a final distance of 1600 meters or roughly 1 mile.)  Since today was just the preliminary heats the United States was resting most of its top runners.  This is risky since if the back up guys drop the baton or screw up at any point then the entire team is disqualified and the fast guys never get a chance to run in the final.  The United States avoided this fate due to the extraordinary effort of the lead off runner Manteo Mitchell.

Former Western Carolina runner and current American Hero, Manteo Mitchell felt an odd feeling in his leg 100 meters into the race and then felt and heard it break at 200 meters.  He somehow continued and finished the second half of the race and handed off the baton in a respectable 46.1 seconds.  (Check out the full story here for some awesome quotes from Mitchell.)  This is the most absurd thing I have ever seen or heard of.  46.1 is an incredibly fast time and would be considered elite in any country but the US and maybe Jamaica.  And the dude ran it with a broken leg.  I had a stress fracture once that made walking difficult and even jogging excruciatingly painful.  Somehow Mitchell ran a full 200 sprint at world-class speed with a completely snapped fibula.  What a boss.

If Mitchell had dropped out of the race then the United States would have been disqualified from probably our best event historically at the Olympics. (We have not lost the Men’s 4X400 relay since 1952.)  Fortunately for us Mitchell had the team strapped securely to his back.  Greg Jennings style.

 

In a textbook case of life mimicking art Mitchell ran to the finish line, broken leg, and all and became an Olympic legend.  In the process he left us all wondering, “How is that dude running with a broken leg?”

 

PS.  It turns out that Jamaica was disqualified because on of their runners pulled out of the race with a “hamstring problem.”  I am sure that Mitchell is too much of a gentleman to call that guy out for being the bitch that he is.  Fortunately I am here to do it for him.

 
Jamaica Hold My Diiiiiick.”- Manteo Mitchell

 

 

 

 

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