Where are they now? Derek Redmond

Derek Redmond will forever be remembered as the athlete who broke down in Barcelona and was helped to the finish line by his father.

Having powered through the two previous heats, Redmond was confident that he had overcome injury problems which included eight Achilles operations in the run-up to the 1992 Olympics and also caused him to miss the 1988 Games in Seoul.

But heading down the back straight in his semi-final, he felt his hamstring snap.

"I heard a funny pop, which I thought was a noise from the crowd," Redmond told Eurosport. "It was my hamstring going and over the next two or three strides the back of my leg was agony. I thought I'd been shot in the leg, but then realised what had happened."

His dad Jim then provided one of the modern-day Olympics' long-lasting images as he burst through security and on to the track to intercept his stricken son, who was dragging himself onwards in floods of tears.

"My dad was trying to stop me doing damage to my leg," Redmond Jr continued. "But I said I wanted to finish - so he said 'we'll finish together'."

The sight of the pair fighting to the finish line together against the backdrop of a standing ovation resonated with many of the watching millions, at the time and since.

"I never regretted what happened in Barcelona, as I didn't have a choice in it," he adds. "I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was frustrated at how it turned out.

"I am remembered for that more than winning the relay gold medal - but it is remembered in a good way and has done a lot of people a lot of good over the years. I still get emails from people and messages of goodwill, after people have shared videos with their friends and feel the need to contact me."

Redmond was part of the British team that shocked the athletics world by beating the much-favoured Americans to claim 4x400m gold at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo, having also taken silver four years previously in Rome.

"The gold was the best moment of my career. Our plan worked: we changed the order and beat the Americans for the first time in years. It's what you train for over the years and months and weeks and days and hours. It's what you dream of. What you live for.

"I had a lot of injuries. I had 13 operations which wrecked my major championships but at least I had the relays. I was an individual runner, a specialist, and trained to be the best 400m runner in the world. The relay was always the cherry of another gold: Carl Lewis was a 100 and 200m runner who also ran relays. Michael Johnson was a 200 and 400m runner who also ran relays.

"But what will be, will be; I'm proud of my career: I broke the British record a few times and was fifth in the 1987 World Championships final, but I was always on a comeback or breaking down at the major championships."

So where is he now?

Redmond is a motivational speaker, drawing upon his athletics experiences in advising on a productive approach to business.

"I didn't plan to get into motivational speaking, it happened by accident. What happened in Barcelona and my career trials and tribulations help, but had I been successful I may have done the same thing and spoken about my triumphs - who knows what path is laid out?

"I focus on overcoming external setbacks, the importance of teamwork, goal-setting, having confidence in yourself if things go wrong, and how the mindset of a sportsperson relates to that of a businessman. They are very similar."

But that is not all — far from it. Having been told, two years after Barcelona, that he would never represent his country again at sport, he began to play basketball; and amazingly went on to prove that surgeon wrong.

"It's not that I felt I had anything to prove," he is keen to point out. "I just loved other sports and liked challenges. I had England schoolboy trials in basketball growing up and started playing again - I just worked my way through the ranks until I was in the England team!

"He told me I'd never compete for my country in sport again, so I sent him a picture of me in my England kit to prove a point - I don't like to be told I can't do something! I received a nice letter back from him, apologising for his choice of words."

Not content with that, he then moved into rugby union.

"I started coaching at Coventry Rugby Club, doing sprinting and fitness work, and ended up playing! I played professionally then semi-pro. I wasn't the best player by any stretch, but I was 100 per cent committed.

"I had a dream of representing my country in three sports and I wasn't going to get near the 15s, so I trialled with the Sevens: unfortunately I didn't get in though."

That competitive personality, and hunger for adventure, was to lead him in another sporting direction several years later.

"In 2006 I decided to learn to ride motorbikes, and passed my test that year. By its end I was doing 180mph on the motorway and wheelies at 130mph on the dual carriageway - I realised that it was dangerous so thought I'd better start going along to track days instead. I went to my first one in 2007, and eight in total that year, then bought an old race bike. In 2008 I went to 43 and went to a few race schools such as the Ron Haslam one - and started endurance racing in 2009.

"I knew John Dimbylow, the owner of Spitlath, from track days and racing together and we got on well. I ran my own endurance team and we used to share bikes; one day he suggested that we join forces and I bought half the team!"

Splitlath Redmond Racing was born — and Dimbylow and Redmond entered the team in British Superbikes in 2012.

There has also been work with UK Athletics.

"I'm not with them now, but for a few years I worked on the development side of sprinters and hurdlers — scouting, seminars for coaches and things like that, giving the athletes the best chance of success. I do some coaching on the side now, but haven't the time to commit to it full-time unfortunately."

You may have seen a victorious Redmond on television in the Nineties winning Celebrity Gladiators. But his association with the show fronted by John Fashanu and Ulrika Johnson did not end there.

"It was me and Martin Offiah in the final, and I beat him. There was also Barry McGuigan and Mark Bosnich and a few others.

"I also refereed on the show and coached the Gladiators and Contenders. I did that for two years."

He was less successful in a recent airing of Celebrity Wipeout, but was happy to miss out to another famous British Olympian.

"I got knocked out in the semi-final, and Eddie the Eagle Edwards won it. It's a lot harder than you think... I'd been battered, spun around, dropped in water and was happy for it to end at that point!"

Redmond will do some work during the London Games later this year, but have plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere as a spectator also.

And his legendary father will also play a part.

"I get the best of both worlds: I do a bit of work and get to watch a lot of competition.

"The old man is one of the torch bearers - it's fantastic for him. He's honoured to be asked to do it.

"I'll try and go along and support him. And if he breaks down, maybe I'll help him this time..."

If you are interested in booking Derek Redmond as a business speaker/celebrity entertainer visit the Parliament Speakers website.

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