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Manteo Mitchell, US sprinter, is almost certainly tougher than you

Aug 10, 2012, 11:36 AM EDT

Photo credit: Kirby Lee- USA Today Sports Photo credit: Kirby Lee- USA Today Sports

We’ve all had tough days in the office – a papercut here, a coffee-burned tongue there, a splitting headache due to the octogenarian secretary who won’t shut the hell up about her cats. But, unless you’re a world-class athlete with thighs of steel and  resolve to match, you probably haven’t had to endure what American sprinter Manteo Mitchell did during the preliminary 4×400 meter relay race in London yesterday– namely, a broken fibula. A half-lap before the finish line. Of an Olympic sprint. WHICH HE THEN FINISHED. I just felt a sharp pain in my lower leg writing that sentence and now will be sidelined from blogging for four-to-six weeks while I convalesce and watch The Wire all the way through for the eighteenth time. I guess that’s why I’m not an Olympian.

“It felt like somebody literally just snapped my leg in half,” Mitchell said. “I heard it and I felt it, but I figured [finishing] is what almost any person would’ve done in that situation.”

Almost any world-class athlete competing in the pinnacle of his sport after four grueling years of training and sacrifice? Maybe. Almost any person? Having seen Manu Ginobili fall down dead on multiple occasions following someone stepping on his big toe, I’m going to say most certainly not.

Even with the fractured fibula, Mitchell completed his lap (the team’s first) in 46.1 seconds and the Americans finished in a tie with the squad from the Bahamas, ensuring advancement to the next round of competition and also ensuring that the name Manteo Mitchell deserves to be uttered in the same sentences as Ronnie Lott, Willis Reed, Kirk Gibson, Jack Youngblood and other sporting badasses when the conversation turns to incredible athletes who wouldn’t let such a minor inconvenience as a major injury stop them from achieving their goals.

“Even though track is an individual sport, you’ve got three guys depending on you, the whole world watching you,” Mitchell said. “You don’t want to let anyone down.”

Don’t worry Manteo, after that performance, I don’t think anyone will ever accuse you of letting anyone down. Here’s hoping his teammates go on and win gold today at the relay final, but even if they come up short, there is little doubt that Mitchell is a champion of spirit… and you don’t need a medal to tell you that.


US Runner Finishes Olympic Relay Lap on Broken Leg [ABC News]

Photo credit: Kirby Lee- USA Today Sports

  1. southernpatriots - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    I was blessed to watch the race “live” and was concerned as soon as I saw Mitchell slowing in the middle of the race. The race commentator did not even consider that Mitchell could have injured himself and did not even mention that. Mitchell kept running and did remarkably, extraordinarily, in bringing the baton to this team mate in 60.1.

    With good legs and 20 years of age, playing football as I did back in those days, I could not run that leg in 60.1 or even imagine I could. Motivated by this, the USA will win the gold medal race and Mitchell needs to be hoisted upon their shoulders for a ride around the track as everyone views the heroic perseverance and determination of Manteo Mitchell.

  2. michiganhockey11 - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    That dude is a total BA. BA of the year right there.

  3. jon623 - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    Okay okay, who ya got… Manteo Mitchell vs. Brandon Inge in an old fashioned bare knuckle boxing match. Winner takes a bottle of whisky.