When 27-year-old Jeff Henderson won the Olympic gold medal for the long jump in Rio, he and his teammates were very happy and proud. That goes for his friends and family, too.
But there was one special person Jeff wanted to bring home the gold for. His mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 10 years ago. Before he left for the Olympics, Jeff promised her that he would win a gold medal and return with it to show her.
So Jeff finally arrived from Rio back home in Arkansas, where his mother is bedridden. With red roses on a nightstand nearby and the American flag draping the bed, Jeff placed his medal on the covers. Then he posted a picture of the touching scene on Instagram. It was a picture that summed up life, in a way. Some people battle for medals, and some people face a different kind of battle.
Henderson grew up in McAlmont, Arkansas. He was a track star in high school and college. At Stillman College, he won both 100-meter dash and long jump titles. Henderson won first place at the 2014 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a jump of 27′ 7-3/4″, and in the same event in 2015, he won a silver medal. In the 2016 Olympics, he won the gold medal with a jump of 27′ 5/3/4″.
You want to think that, somehow, Jeff’s mother knew that he did well.