A Sense of Purpose

A Sense of Purpose 

At 10 minutes to seven on a dark, cool evening in Mexico City in 1968, John Stephen Akwari of Tanzania painfully hobbled into the Olympic Stadium—the last man to finish the marathon. The winner had already been crowned, and the victory ceremony was long finished.  So the stadium was almost empty as Akwari—alone, his leg bloody and bandaged—struggled to circle the track to the finish line. The respected documentary filmmaker Bud Greenspan watched from a distance.  Then, intrigued, Bud walked over to Akwari and asked why he had continued the grueling struggle to the finish line. The young man from Tanzania answered softly: “My country did not send me 9,000 miles to start the race.  They sent me 9,000 miles to finish the race.”

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