The Olympics are probably the only time where athletes from the entire world come together to compete for the most prestigious award a sportsman can receive – the Olympic gold.
It’s coveted by all athletes, regardless of ethnicity, race or religious beliefs. But the Olympics aren’t just for winning. They are about setting our differences, being compassionate, fair and understanding; they are about being a team player; they are about celebrating the very best of humanity. Everyone wants to win the top prize, which is hardly a surprise, because competing in the Olympic Games is an athlete’s most pivotal moment of their career.
That’s certainly the case for 27-year-old long jumper, Jeff Henderson, who recently won the gold medal. He was ecstatic. Henderson beat 2012 Olympic champion Greg Rutherford, who won bronze, and came ahead of Luvo Manyonga, who jumped 8.37 meters for a silver medal. He jumped 8.38 meters to clinch the gold; it was no World Record, but his family, friends and countrymen couldn’t be more proud.
But Henderson didn’t really care much for the gold medal itself. He promised his mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and doesn’t even recognize him, that he would present it to her and coming through on that promise was paramount. He promised her that he would take the gold back to his home in Arkansas and dedicate it to her.
“My mum can’t be here, she has Alzheimer’s. When I place that medal in her hands, I’ll be crying,” he said after the competition. “A gold medal is like a newborn baby. It’s just lovely.” He kept his promise and he came home a hero. He placed the medal by his mom’s bed, which was covered in red, white and blue. He took a photo of the moment, which he later posted on his Instagram page. It was a very emotional moment for the athlete and for his supporters as well, as evidenced by the popularity of the photo.