Broken leg can't stop sprinter from Olympic glory

POSTED: 8:59 PM Nov 14 2013   UPDATED: 9:15 PM Nov 14 2013
CHICO, Calif. -

It was one of the London Olympic games most cherished moments of courage.  American sprinter Manteo Mitchell ran 200 meters with a broken leg bone.

This sports hero is in Chico for two days sharing his story and displaying the silver medal he brought home, despite the devastating injury he suffered on the world’s biggest stage.

Mitchell circled the track at Chico State Thursday afternoon. He’s visiting Chico to promote a calf sleeve that Chico-based company Incrediwear says increases blood flow and reduces pain.  Pain is something that Mitchell knows something about.

“It was very excruciating pain,” said Mitchell.

During the 2012 Olympics in London, Mitchell was running the first leg of a qualifying race in the 4-by-400-meter relay when he heard a pop.  He kept running, passing the baton to his teammate. 

Only later did he find out that he'd broken the fibula in his left leg.  It’s an injury that still plagues him, although not physically.  It’s more of a mental struggle, dealing with the thought that something like that could happen again.

“I hope it won't happen again,” said Mitchell. “But just knowing that at the biggest stage of my life something like that could happen.”

The American relay team went on to win the silver medal.  Even though Mitchell was in no condition to run in the final, he was awarded a medal, which he brought with him to Chico.   His story is filled with inspiration.  On Friday he'll give the Chico State track team a pep talk.

Running 200 meters on a broken fibula is a display of courage for Chico State track team member Leron Rideout .

“I could not. I could not imagine that at all,” said Rideout.  “To finish the race, that takes a lot of heart.”

Manteo Mitchell's racing days are far from over.   He's working out, planning to carry his baton of courage to the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.

Mitchell stopped by Sports LTD in Chico Thursday night to take photos and sign autographs.