As the summer Olympics commence this week, we take you back to a poignant moment in the history of the Games. The year was 1968. The venue was Mexico City. The event was the marathon. And the athlete was a little known Tanzanian who did his nation proud.
No, he didn’t win. Not even close. He actually arrived for his final lap in the Olympic stadium about an hour and a half after the winner. His leg was bloodied and bandaged as he hobbled and shuffled to the finish line.
Film director Bud Greenspan approached the struggling athlete, noticing his bloodied leg, and asked the runner, “Why did you keep going?”
John Stephen Ahkwari replied, “You don’t understand. My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start a race. They sent me to finish it.”