Olympic silver medalist and Western Carolina University alumni Manteo Mitchell brought a whole new meaning to his motivational phrase Faith, Focus and Finish during last Thursday's 4x400 meter relay Olympic Trial race.
The former Catamount Track and Field standout had 200 meters to go in the first leg of the 4x400-meter relay preliminaries when he heard a “pop.” With his relay partner cheering him on to hand off the baton, Mitchell fought through the pain and finished his leg of the race.
Mitchell limped to the side of the track and watched his team tie for first with the team from the Bahamas with a time of 2:58.87. After the race, Team USA announced that Mitchell's left fibula cracked midway through his stretch of the race forcing him to finish the last 200 meters of the race with a broken leg.
Despite the broken bone, Mitchell finished his leg of the race with a time of 46.1 seconds and helped his team finish with a time of 2:58.87.
According to reports, Mitchell said he slipped on the stairs a few days prior to the race in the athletes village of the Olympics, but didn't think much of it. He continued to train and reported feeling fine.
Repeating the phrase “Faith, focus, finish” in his head, Mitchell sprinted out the remainder of the race, and secured the United States a spot in the finals.
Mitchell, 25, ran the fifth-best 400-meter time at U.S. trials at 44.96 and intends to better that mark when the U.S. team enters next year's world championships.
Team USA went on to run Friday, with Olympic hurdler Angelo Taylor replacing Mitchell, with a time of 2.57.05, just .33 seconds behind the Bahamas, who secured the Gold Medal.