Melbourne’s blind and low vision community were given a special opportunity to hear from an athlete involved in one of the most memorable events in recent Olympic history.
Former British Olympian, Derek Redmond, visited Vision Australia’s Kooyong headquarters on Wednesday, October 16 to speak to Vision Australia’s workforce members, clients and members from other blindness and low vision organisations.
Now a recognised and in-demand motivational speaker, Derek represented Great Britain in athletics at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics, as well as at the World Championships in 1987 and 1991.
Throughout his career, Derek battled and overcame numerous injuries, and it was an injury that occurred at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics that he is perhaps most remembered for. During the semi-finals of the 400 metres event, Derek suffered a hamstring injury and was struggling to finish the race. Derek’s father, Jim, ran to his assistance and the pair finished the race together.
Despite official records stating he “did not finish”, the imagery of Jim supporting an emotional Derek to finish the race has become an iconic moment in Olympic history, and is held by many as an example of perseverance and resilience.
Those themes were what Derek expanded upon in his visit to Vision Australia, in not only his speech to the staff and clients present at Kooyong, but also his interview with Vision Australia Radio's Sam Colley shortly beforehand.
“Derek’s story is a great example of showing resilience in the face of adversity and we think hearing from him will be a great experience for our workforce members and clients. We’re very grateful Derek is giving us his time,” Troy Pearl, Vision Australia’s national wellbeing health and safety manager, said.
“There’s definitely elements of Derek’s story that we think will resonate with our community, and his story might provide people with something they can take away and use to help further develop their skills and set goals to deal with challenges they may face, whether professionally or personally,” Troy added.
Derek’s visit to Vision Australia was part of an Australian tour organised by Thomas International, a leading psychometric assessment and development consultancy.
“Thomas International is proud to help shine a light on some of the workers in this country that deserve attention. Derek’s story aligns perfectly with the Australian spirit of mateship and resilience. It’s an honour for him to speak to Vision Australia,” consulting director Garth Crossley said.
Sam's interview with Derek later appeared on October 19's episode of Vision Sport. You can hear his full interview with Derek here.