US Runner Finishes Race on Broken Leg
Manteo Mitchell keeps men's 4x400 gold hopes alive
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2012 12:00 AM CDT
Updated Aug 10, 2012 7:00 AM CDT
United States' Manteo Mitchell runs in a 4x400-meter relay heat yesterday.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

(Newser) – The US made it to the men's 4x400-meter relay finals with the help of a runner who deserves a gold medal for pain endurance. Manteo Mitchell was 200 meters into the race's first leg when a bone in his leg snapped. He managed to finish the rest of the lap in excruciating pain, and keep the US in the competition, CNN reports. After he limped off, an X-ray confirmed that the 25-year-old athlete had a broken left fibula, the smaller of the two leg bones. It is possible to run with a broken fibula, but most people would find the pain unbearable, Slate notes.

Mitchell originally hurt himself missing a step as he went up some stairs at the Olympic Village earlier in the week, but he says he felt fine after treatment. But "as soon as I took the first step past the 200-meter mark, I felt it break. I heard it," he says. "I even put out a little war cry, but the crowd was so loud you couldn't hear it. I wanted to just lie down. It felt like somebody literally just snapped my leg in half." The US—which has won gold at the eight Olympic 4x400-meter relays it entered—now advances to tonight's final, although the team has not yet announced its replacement for Mitchell.