Friday, August 17, 2012
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
BY NOW, you would have heard the news that the 2012 Olympic Games produced just one medal - a gold - for the 26-member Team Bahamas.
The gold was achieved by the men’s 4x400 metre relay team of Chris ‘Fireman’ Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller, whom I now refer to as ‘Fearless’ for his gutsy performance on the anchor leg.
The coaching staff, headed by David Charlton and including Henry Rolle, should be commended for the bold move they made to utilise the two best runners on the first two legs. Not only did it shock their rivals, but it provided the team with the impetus that it needed to finally put Team Bahamas in a position to dethrone the mighty United States of America.
It looked like the move was going to backfire as the US had gained control of the race on the third and anchor leg. But Miller proved why he was given the responsibility to complete the race and he did it admirably as he stormed from behind going into the home stretch to pass a weary Angelo Taylor to secure the victory.
There was much cause for celebrations and while Bahamians from all walks of life reportedly did that here, those in London had their own party as the Bahama House adjacent to the residence of British High Commissioner Paul Farquharson, was filled to capacity as the celebrations went late in the night. It was truly a Friday night to remember.
Everywhere we went following the team’s performance, people were congratulating the Bahamas for their effort. It certainly boosted our tourism because there were many people who indicated that either they’ve been here and enjoyed themselves or there were others who indicated that they heard so much about our country and they can’t wait to visit.
I was surprised at how knowledgeable so many people were about the Bahamas, our culture and indeed the performances of Team Bahamas in past Olympiads. Many still remember the feats by triple jumper Frank Rutherford, the “Golden Girls” and especially quarter-miler Tonique Williams-Darling. The historic performance by our men’s relay team, the first country to upset the US in 60 years in the event at a major global event, speaks volumes for the success of our team.
My collegiate from throughout the Caribbean, especially Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada, spent a lot of time expressing each other’s ‘congrats’ as one by one, they picked up their medal. I was a little concerned because time was running out and with each passing day, there was one disappointment after another with our athletes making their exit.
Yes, I expected a little more.
There was the possibility of either Donald Thomas or Trevor Barry getting on the podium, but neither got into the final. How about the triple factor of Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder and Ramon Miller in the men’s 400m? Miller missed the opportunity to join the other two in the final. But in the final, Brown fell just shy of getting his first individual medal with a fourth place finish - again for the second consecutive Olympiad. Pinder, in his debut, was seventh.
Another sure bet for a medal was triple jumper Leevan ‘Superman’ Sands, who was the reigning bronze medallist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Sands was right where he wanted to be in fourth place going into his third jump. But his right knee gave up on him as he attempted to land into the pit and he had to have medical assistance to get him out.
The next day, he underwent a successful surgery to repair his patellar tendinitis, commonly referred to as ‘Jumper’s Knee.’ He left the hospital on Wednesday and should now be back in Auburn where he is expected to begin his rehabilitation on the road back to his fourth Olympic appearance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016. Those were by far our best hopes for a medal, but only the men’s relay team survived. They kept the Bahamas’ streak alive of winning at least one medal every Olympics since Rutherford’s bronze in 1992 in Barcelona, Spain.
From the opening to the closing ceremonies, this year’s Olympics was truly one for the ages. Never before has there been jammed pack audiences of 80,000 not just in every session for the morning preliminary rounds, but the evening sessions as well when the semifinal and finals were predominantly featured. Team Bahamas was right in the mix.
Except for the early departure of athletes such as quarter-miler Shaunae Miller, vintage Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie and long jumpers Raymond Higgs and Bianca ‘BB’ Stuart, the other athletes were right on cue as they made it either to the second round or the semifinal in their respective events. In most cases, Team Bahamas lived up to the expectations.
The games, however, prove that there’s still a lot more work for our athletes to do in order to be successful at this level. There were just too many injuries that hampered the progress of some of the athletes. But with a mixture of young and experienced athletes competing, there’s a brighter hope for the Bahamas moving forward.
The victory by the men’s relay should really inspire the rest of the athletes as they all attempt to be like the Olympians who represented the country in London.
Let’s hope that the celebrations that they are experiencing this week and the accolades they will receive will be worth the weight of the gold that is hanging around their necks. Brown, Pinder, Mathieu and Miller inspired a nation with their thrilling performance in London.
Let’s make them feel appreciative of the awards they receive in return. Congrats to the “Golden Knights” on a job well done.
SYMPATHY TO MAYNARD
Amidst the celebrations for the men’s relay team, the Bahamas has lost one of its most promising sons in the political arena.
Yes, the sudden death of Charles Maynard has sent shock waves throughout the nation.
The former Free National Movement Member of Parliament for Golden Isles was the immediate past Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture. In the latter capacity, Maynard left an indelible mark on all those he came in contact with. He followed in the footsteps of Desmond Bannister, but Maynard charted his own course and was well respected by many for the manner in which he exhibited his duties.
His last official duty as a minister came in the official opening for the new Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre. There were those who expressed their displeasure in the fact that Maynard’s ministry allocated some $600,000 for the event and even now the facility is still not yet ready for use.
The free-for-all opening was filled to capacity as there was more than the 15,000 seats available, forcing officials to turn away hundreds more.
Maynard was a hands-on minister who tried to tackle just about every issue that came up. For the most part, he was successful in getting the job done.
He will definitely be remembered. Our heartfelt condolences are extended to his wife, children and immediate family. May his soul rest in peace.