On Thursday, sprinter Manteo Mitchell became an instant inspiration during the first-leg of the 4x400 meter relay preliminaries. The 25-year-old from Cullowhee, N.C., had 200 meters to go before passing the baton when he heard a POP!

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Unfortunately, that pop wasn't the sound of a starter gun. That sound turned out the be his left fibula which had suffered a complete break. "It felt like somebody literally just snapped my leg in half," he said.

Faced with only two options (keep running or stop and lose the race) Manteo decided to push through for his team by finishing his heat in 46.1 seconds. After he finished the lap, he limped to the side to watch his teammates finish the race and qualify for the final.

His decision to keep going helped the United States tie with the Bahamas in a respectable 2 minutes, 58.87 seconds – the fastest time ever run in the first round of the relay at the Olympics.

A few hours later, doctors confirmed that Manteo had indeed run the last half-lap with a broken left fibula. But given that it was not a compound fracture, the bone is expected to heal on its own in four to six weeks.