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June 03, 2020

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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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As tiny a nation that T&T is, has stamped its class at the Olympics.

Today, T&T turns 55 years and over those decades and more, our athletes have represented this country with pride at the international multi-sport event that is hosted by a different city every four years, an occasion that all athletes look forward to and cherish.

As T&T celebrates another year of independence, the sportsmen who have donned the red, white and black, have a been a constant provider of joy to this nation and what better way to celebrate than to take a stroll back to some of those memorable moments displayed on the biggest sporting stage in the world.

To the time when sprinter Hasely Crawford caused euphoria by becoming the first T&T athlete to win a gold medal at the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympic Games. It was in the men’s 100 metres. This meant that it was the first time the national anthem was played at the world event and the flag hoisted in celebration.

Those emotions were reignited by javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott some 36 years later in winning T&T’s second gold ever and first in a throwing event at the 2012 London Games.

T&T’s third Olympic gold medal was late in coming but the history books will show that the national 4x100m team of Richard Thompson, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender and Marc Burns are the rightful holders of the precious metal. Earlier this year, it was revealed that Jamaican Nesta Carter had tested positive for a banned substance which he took in 2008, which means the relay team will receive the Olympic gold.

T&T stands on par with the best in the world from origin and this is highlighted by T&T’s ability to churn out champions.

Pre-Independence medals

Unforgettable is weightlifter Rodney Wilkes, who made T&T’s first participation at the Olympic Games in 1948 London, most memorable in becoming the nation’s first medal winner, taking silver in the men’s featherweight division. Two years prior, Sir Lennox O’Reilly had organised T&T’s first Olympic committee.

Wilkes also went down in history as the first multiple medal winner at the Olympics by bagging the bronze at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics in Finland again in the men’s featherweight division.

Sharing in the jubilation that year was another weightlifter Lennox Kilgour, who also won a bronze medal in the men’s middle heavyweight.

At the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, T&T experienced a dry spell and the five athletes including Wilkes (Featherweight), Kilgour (middle heavyeight), Hilton Mitchell (cycling) and sprinters Mike Agostini and Joseph Goddard, returned home empty-handed.

West Indies Olympic team

In 1958, the West Indies joined together to become a Confederation. Because of this, a West Indian team was entered in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy. The British West Indies won two bronze medals but none were attributed to the four athletes T&T that contributed to the team. They were Clifton Bertrand (athletics), Clyde Rimple (cycling) and sailors Richard Bennett and David Farfan.

T&T first Olympic Games

T&T competed in 14 Olympic Games as an independent nation from Tokyo Games 1964 to Rio 2016. Tokyo lived up to expectations with T&T having its most productive participation in copping three medals in those early years. Wendell Mottley won a silver in the men’s 400m and then combined with a bronze medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Sprinter Ato Boldon grabbed the attention at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics (USA), capturing two bronze medals in the 100m and 200m sprints. Four year later he captured two more medals, a silver the 100m and reclaimed his bronze at the 2000 Sydney Games in Australia in 2000.

Boldon remains the athlete with the most Olympic and World Championship medals for T&T pocketed with eight in total—four from the Olympics and four from the World Championships. Boldon is also the only world champion T&T has ever had in athletics competition. He won the 1997 World Championship 200m in Athens, Greece.

At the Athens Games in 2004, it was George Bovell making a big splash in copping T&T’s lone medal, a bronze in the men’s 200m individual medley event.

Four years later we saw the introduction of Richard Thompson. The sprinter sped into this nation’s heart and away with the silver medal in the men’s 100m.

Thompson collected his second medal of the 2008 Games, anchoring the national team to silver, returning in 2012 to again reach the podium in the men’s 4x100m with the same team-mates of Bledman, Burns and Callender, winning silver, which was another upgrade from a bronze after the USA was stripped of the gold following Tyson Gay’s positive drug test.

Another relay team sped into the spotlight that year when the quartet of Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon, Deon Lendore and Ade Alleyne-Forte captured bronze in the men’s 4x400m final.

Back to the most recent past, Walcott became the hero of the 2016 Rio Games in Brazil, earning his second medal and his country’s 19th, giving T&T more to celebrate.

To the medal winners and to the sportsmen and women, who have boldly represented the national colours proudly, the nation says thank you.

MORE INFO

Medal: Silver

Name: Rodney Wilkes

Games: United Kingdom 1948 London

Sport: Weightlifting

Event: Men’s featherweight

Medal: Bronze

Name: Rodney Wilkes

Games: Finland 1952 Helsinki

Sport: Weightlifting

Event: Men’s featherweight

Medal: Bronze

Name: Lennox Kilgour

Games: Finland 1952 Helsinki

Sport: Weightlifting

Event: Men’s middle-heavyweight

Medal: Silver

Name: Wendell Mottley

Games: Japan 1964 Tokyo

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s 400 metres

Medal: Bronze

Name: Edwin Roberts

Games: Japan 1964 Tokyo

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s 200 metres

Medal: Bronze

Name: Wendell Mottley, Kent Bernard, Edwin Roberts, Edwin Skinner

Games: Japan 1964 Tokyo

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s 4 x 400 metres relay

Medal: Gold

Name: Hasely Crawford

Games: Canada 1976 Montreal

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s 100 metres

Medal: Bronze

Name: Ato Boldon

Games: United States 1996 Atlanta

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s 100 metres

Medal: Bronze

Name: Ato Boldon

Games: United States 1996 Atlanta

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s 200 metres

Medal: Silver

Name: Ato Boldon

Games: Australia 2000 Sydney

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s 100 metres

Medal: Bronze

Name: Ato Boldon

Games: Australia 2000 Sydney

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s 200 metres

Medal: Bronze

Name: George Bovell

Games: Greece 2004 Athens

Sport: Swimming

Event: Men’s 200 metre individual medley

Medal: Gold

Names: Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender, Richard Thompson, Aaron Armstrong

Games: China 2008 Beijing

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s 4x100 metres relay

Medal: Silver

Names: Richard Thompson

Games: China 2008 Beijing

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s 100 metres

Medal: Gold

Name: Keshorn Walcott

Games: United Kingdom 2012 London

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s javelin throw

Medal: Silver

Name: Marc Burns, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender, Richard Thompson

Games: United Kingdom 2012 London

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s 4x100 metres relay

Medal: Bronze

Name: Lalonde Gordon

Games: United Kingdom 2012 London

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s 400 metres

Medal: Bronze

Names: Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon, Renny Quow, Deon Lendore, Machel Cedenio, Ade Alleyne-Forte

Games: United Kingdom 2012 London

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s 4 x 400 metres relay

Medal: Bronze

Name: Keshorn Walcott

Games: Brazil 2016 Rio de Janeiro

Sport: Athletics

Event: Men’s javelin throw

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