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Marco Vistalli does a Derek Redmond
July 4, 2012Posted by on
When the European Championships 400m dash final got underway, a lone athlete got left out of the blocks. As the rest of the field zoomed towards the finish line, Italy’s Marco Vistalli made his way slowly around the Helsinki track. Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic won gold, stopping the clock at 45.24s. The Italian walked the distance, notching a time of 4:04.20.
Vistalli is a quality European quarter miler. He has a personal best of 45.38s from the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona. Although he had won medals at the European U23 Championships and the European Team Championships, Helsinki was his first ever major international final.
He had run times of 45.98s in the first round and 46.01s in the semifinals, where he topped his heat. Had he been able to run a time close to his personal best, a podium finish could have been possible. But then again, injuries are part and parcel of athletics competition.
Perhaps Vistalli did not want to see “DNS” or “DNF” written beside his name. According to an article from the Italian Athletics Federation, the quarter-miler has been nursing a muscle injury that was exacerbated in the semifinals. The Italian was applauded by the spectators for his effort and gamely made a dip to the finish.
For his display of the Olympic ideal of “taking part” and emulating Derek Redmond, I tip my hat off to Vistalli.
Other athletes who had had their Derek Redmond moments: