A True Sports Superstar

In a day when so called “sports superstars” are in and out of jail, on and off steroids, or up and down contracts, the following story will inspire you.

I saw the video first on Fox News. I later searched the web for the video in its entirety.


click here for video

Apparently Claire had injured her leg a few weeks prior to the race. Claire’s coach limited her practice two weeks prior to Ohio’s High School State Cross Country Championship due to the soreness. Perhaps she should have had the leg x-rayed. I understand, however; most athletes believe they can work their way through an injury.

In the race, Claire heard her leg crack. She thought it was a muscle strain, and determined she could finish the race. Her goal was to catch a rival runner in front of her. A few steps later, she heard the crack again, and again. Then another, louder crack brought her to her knees.

A teammate passing her encouraged her to her feet again. When she finally stood on both legs, this time her leg gave way with the loudest crack.

“At that point, I knew what had happened. I knew my leg was broken pretty badly. And I knew I couldn’t get up again. So I started crawling,” she said.

Claire said she did not think of her coach or her parents. She did not even think of anyone else encouraging her to finish. Instead and here is one of the big reasons why I think Claire gets it, she thought of the countless stories she had heard about runners who collapsed before the end of the race and yet still finished. Claire said she still would have crawled across the finish line even if her leg had given out at the 400-meter mark. No matter what, Claire was going to finish.

“They may not have let me, and it might not have been pretty, but I would have tried,” she said.

And, now, here is the biggest reason I believe Claire crawled across the finish line. She said, “I had come so far. Our team had come so far. All season, we had been working for state, and now we were there. I was almost done, and there was no way I was going to let the team down.”

There it is; this is how I know Claire gets it—“There was no way I was going to let the team down.”

So, she finished the race in a time of 20:24.07, only 18 seconds slower than her personal best (20:06), despite crawling for the last 45 feet. The finish was good for 67th place, helping her school to a fourth-place finish in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III championship.

Claire Markwardt, in my opinion, is a real sport star. Claire is the epitome of an authentic athlete. She understands the purpose of physical competition. She knows the meaning of being the member of a team. Sure, Claire was competing for a personal best, but the bigger picture forced her to crawl across the line. Claire did not want to disappoint her team. The team was first. Many of our “sports heroes” of the day would benefit from Claire’s story. Claire Markwardt embodies the purpose of genuine athletic competition and being the member of a team.


1 Response to “A True Sports Superstar”

  1. 1 chrisfason
    November 28, 2007 at 8:48 am

    :deer in headlights:


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