25 years, Derek Redmond confesses, feel like they’ve flown by as frenetically as a lap of the track.

A quarter-century since he was effectively forced to retire as a consequence of the torn hamstring sustained in the semi-finals of the Barcelona Olympics.

The 52-year-old icon admits, that even now, barely a day passes by without being asked about that summer’s evening in 1992 when he reached the line with his father Jim acting as his crutch, the Estadi Montjuic rising to their feet to applaud his determination to at least finish the race rather than be stretchered meekly off into oblivion.

“People keep asking me about it, even now,” he proclaims. “Probably this week, I’ve had it four or five times. I use it a lot now in presentations and I see the video of it all the time because of that. Even though I didn’t remember much about it at the time, it feels fresh in my memory.

“But the emotion I get when I look at the screen is one of frustration mainly. The reason for that is because I was running pretty well at the point going into the Games. I always feel if I’d finished that race, I’d have run a personal best.

“And so the fact I didn’t finish it, and I got nothing from it, it’s stuck with me because I’ll never know how fast I could have run or how absolutely good I could have been.

“I’ve always thought ‘I’d rather the hamstring had gone in the final.’ Because at least then I’d have known the answer to that one. Instead it was the last race I did.”

There was plenty of enjoyment still ahead: two seasons playing professional basketball with the Birmingham Bullets. TV work and an involvement with a motorcycling team.

A stint overseeing sprints and hurdles for British Athletics. And now his current role for an employee assessment company.

Not such a stretch for someone who used to measure his own physical and mental improvements on a daily basis but who now works out how others can perform to their absolute peak.

As individuals, and as part of a team, he relates. Which is why Redmond offers a positive but incomplete review of the UK current group of fast-legged creatures, most of whom left last summer’s world championships with medals to show for their abilities but all of whom were reliant on the relays to pick up an unforgettable souvenir.

Advice for this generation

Halted in his prime, his finest hours came within a quartet, above all world and European 4×400 golds.

“Of course it was fantastic. It was great,” he says. “But there was a lot more I could have done. My career could have been a lot worse but there could have been other results on an individual level.”

Which is why he is urging his successors to aim for solo success as they approach a year that offers achievable goals from world indoors, Commonwealth Games and European Championships.

The likes of Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Dina Asher-Smith, Adam Gemili and Zharnel Hughes have come within fractions of a second of global podiums in recent seasons and there is nothing, Redmond says, like grabbing a little glory that doesn’t need to be divvied up.

“Every athlete who does a relay is a pretty good runner. But it’s your second event. It is an event in its own right but you get there because of what you do in individual races and I’m sure if you spoke to any of them, and you could choose between winning a title by yourself or as a team, if they’re 100% honest, they’d go for the individual one.

“That’s the ultimate if you want to be the best in the world. So all of those guys will now want it even more, as I did. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.

“But the beauty of the relays is that it gives you a second bite of the cherry whatever happens. It’s exciting, as a disciple. That pressure is shared but there are fresh complications, like getting the baton exchanges right, none of you getting injured.

“There’s actually more to think about than the individual but if you get it right, you get to share it with other people which is great.”

That the British coterie of Gemili, Mitchell-Blake, CJ Ujah and Danny Talbot carved their own golden niche in London on August should compel them to want to emulate the 2014 GB&NI squad that struck Olympic gold, he adds. “I’ve always said that if a British team gets it right, they can put anyone under pressure, even the Americans.”

Setting aside the made-for-TV match scheduled for London next summer, the 4×100 posse will need to wait until 2019 for another meaningful clash with Uncle Sam’s finest.

In the meantime, Redmond urges both the country’s quickest men and women to use next year’s testers in Australia’s Gold Coast and in Berlin to learn how to win by themselves and to prepare for the examinations that will come on the road towards the prime stage of Tokyo in 2020.

That some big names of the present and past will not be around to challenge them matters not, he says.

“With the Commonwealth or Europeans, we’ve seen athletes pull out of one to concentrate on the other. I get that. The Commonwealths don’t suit everyone’s programme because of the time of year.

“But with one eye on the big ones: the worlds or Olympic Games, it’s good experience. Go out and win a championship. We all like that feeling of winning. It’s fantastic for any athlete to be able to go out and say ‘you know, Wayde van Niekerk or Usain Bolt aren’t here this time, let’s be professional and claim a championship.’”

Redmond will raise a glass if they do. He recently commemorated the mixed vibes of that night in Barcelona with a charity ball in London in aid of the Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People.

The occasion lives on in vivid colour with Jim joining his son to recount what was voted the third greatest Olympic moment of all-time by US broadcaster NBC, a drama that was re-shared during the Rio 2016 Games by the IOC and garnered an astonishing 109 million views on Facebook.

Better, they say, to be remembered for glorious defeat than for nothing at all.

“I cannot change anything or roll back the years,” Redmond declares.

“I just know I could have been a better athlete than people saw without the injuries. That’s what you train for, to achieve your full potential.”

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