In the history of the Olympic Games, victories are the most celebrated and revered part of the event.
One Tanzanian is however celebrated, not for winning a race, but for finishing last of the pile in the 1968 marathon event, with his head held up high.
Marathoner John Stephen Akhwari engraved his name in the history of the Olympic Games by labouring through immense pain to finish the 42 kilometers race even after dislocating his knee halfway in it.
As the race was well underway, Akhwari tangled with another runner and took a horrific fall, smashing his knee and shoulder on the pavement.
The Tanzanian had his knee bandaged, but could not give up the opportunity to represent his country all the way.
He continued the race, walking through most of it and jogging when he could.
As he continued his run, many people could only feel pity for him. Deep down his heart however, Akhwari knew he had to accomplish the mission that his country had sent him to Mexico to do.
By the time he completed the race, darkness had already set in.
Clocking in at about 7:00pm local Mexico time, the Tanzanian was more than an hour behind the second last athlete.
A few thousand people stayed behind to await his arrival at the finish line, and they all gave him a loud round of applause as he made his way there, with doctors waiting to offer their much needed services.
Upon completion of the race, journalists mobbed him with questions regarding his show. All he had was a simple answer, “My country did not send me 5000 miles just to start the race. They sent me to finish the race.”
Worth noting, 18 other athletes had pulled out of the race, all in perfect condition.
Akhwari’s story remains one of the most inspirational in the history of the Olympic Games, and has also been used as a motivator to millions across the world.
His efforts earned him an invitation to the Sydney 2000 Games.
On Wednesday, the World Olympics body recognized the Tanzanian once again with a short inspirational video published on their social media.