Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The greatest last place finish ever

On October 20, 1968, at the Mexico City Olympics at 7.00 pm, a young man by the name of John Stephen Akhwari from Tanzania, covered with blood, hobbled into the stadium. He was running in the marathon and early on in the race had taken a horrible fall, injured his head and damaged his knee. And there he was, over 40 kilometers later, stumbling his way to the finish line. The response of the crowd was overwhelming. They encouraged Akhwari through the last few meters of his race with a standing ovation that far exceeded the one given to the individual who had won the marathon earlier. The next day, Akhwari appeared before sports journalists for an interview. The first question asked was, "Why, in spite of the injuries suffered, did you proceed to the finish line, when there was no way you could possibly win the race?" John Stephen Akhwari simply answered: "My country did not send me over 11,000 kilometers to start a race. They sent me over 11,000 kilometers to finish one."

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