United States track athlete Manteo Mitchell is one of the best runners in the world. You don’t represent your country in the Olympics without being one of the top athletes in the world. While Mitchell may not be the fastest or most decorated runner in the London Games, he can take the claim that no one else can — the toughest.
Mitchell injured his leg three days ago after taking a fall while climbing some steps but he felt that he would still be able to run in the 4×400 relay. Once Mitchell started to run the race, everything changed. A press release from USA Track and Field detailed the injury and Mitchell revealed that he ran with a broken leg… and finished:
I got out pretty slow, but I picked it up and when I got to the 100-meter mark it felt weird. I was thinking I just didn’t feel right. As soon as I took the first step past the 200-meter mark, I felt it break. I heard it. I even put out a little war cry, but the crowd was so loud you couldn’t hear it. I wanted to just lie down. It felt like somebody literally just snapped my leg in half.
I knew if I finished strong we could still get it (the baton) around. I saw Josh Mance motioning me in for me to hand it off to him, which lifted me. I didn’t want to let those three guys down, or the team down, so I just ran on it. It hurt so bad. I’m pretty amazed that I still split 45 seconds on a broken leg.
Absolutely amazing. Most humans would have crumbled to the pain in agony with the amount of pain that Mitchell had to be feeling but he continued to run so he wouldn’t let his country or teammates down.
Mitchell ran a 46.1 second split. It was the fifth fastest time in the field during his leg and it helped the Americans advance to the finals and gave them a shot at the gold medal. Team USA qualified for the finals with a time that was tied for best in the semi-finals. Unfortunately for Mitchell, he will have to watch the USA go for the gold on the sidelines but he is a big part of any chance they have and should be appreciated for his toughness and guts to run with a broken leg.