The curtains have closed on the stage of the 31st Olympiad held August 5th to August 21st 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. The Bahamas Track and Field took center stage making its presence felt daily at competition.
There were several memorable moments, not the least of which was Shaunae Miller’s Gold medal performance in the 400m, defeating the previous Olympic and World Champion Allison Felix. Felix is a formidable opponent as she is well decorated and demonstrated this with a photo finish race. Shaunae not only showed guts and heart but ran the smartest race possible from her lane seven (7). Mere meters from the finish line, fatigue was evident but she pressed for the proverbial tape and fell to victory.
The performance by the men’s 4×4 team obtained the same level of approval by the Bahamian viewers. The team in a valiant effort, mustered up with courage to the bronze medal win. From the opening leg of Alonzo Russell who ran a superbly, it was evident that they intended to medal. Michael Mathieu received the baton from Russell and gave it his best effort. He passed the baton to our 400m record holder Steven Gardiner. He ran a stellar race and moved the Bahamas from fifth place to second place at the exchange, in a split of 43.78 seconds. The veteran, fireman Chris Brown, ran a smart leg and held his own crossing the finish line 0.03 seconds ahead of an experience Belgium team. The future is bright for the Bahamas in this event and the individual 400m for men. The old guard continues to press on and usher in the new team of fresher legs. This is indeed an unbeatable combination. Not to be outdone, the women’s 4×4 team in a first time entrance into this event, without our national record holder set a new national record. This is impressive. This is another event we should make the podium for in the not too distant future.
Perhaps the most impressive performance of the games from our little country; was the run of University of Illinois sophomore Pedrya Seymour. Pedrya for the fourth time this year broke the national record, running a blazing semi final time of 12.64 seconds in the womens 100m hurdle. Pedrya who became the first Bahmaian to run under 13 seconds in the hurdles, accomplished yer another feat by being the first Bahamian to make it to an Olympic finals in the hurdles. Pedrya had stated earlier that she was dedicating her Olympic performance to her brother who lost his life tragically this year. Pedrya your brother must be looking down and saying “Wow! All of that just for me sis?” Pedrya the Bahamas and your family are proud of you and your relentless effort to achieve greatness. Your future is bright indeed. It is noteworthy that in the four weeks working with head coach George Cleare, Pedrya lowered her time by two tenths of a second . That is indeed impressive.
They were many other moving performances. Levan Sands pressed his way, after what we remember of his fate at the 2012 London Olympics. He narrowly missed the finals but he proved he is as courageous as they come. Then their was Jeffrey Gibson the Pan Am and World Championship medalist. He was clearly not in the race form that he is known for but pressed to finish his race. We must also acknowledge the 200m for women and men as well as the high jump, the only three events where we had the quota of three participants. We observed Tynia Gaither and Jamal Wilson the up and coming standouts of years to come. As we look toward to next year where The World Relays will be held at home and the World Championship in London, expect some great performances and an exponential increase in the medal count. The writing is on the wall.
In terms of medals per capita at the Summer Olympics since 1992, The Bahamas has been the most dominant:
1992 Barcelona (1st)
1996 Atlanta (2nd)
2000 Sydney (1st)
2004 Athens (1st)
2008 Beijing (1st)
2012 London (5th)
2016 Rio (2nd)
The quantum leap from the last Olympics to this last games is indeed noted.
Congratulations Team Bahamas. The execution of Chef de Mission Mr. Roye Colebrook, Head Coach Mr. George Cleare and the entire coaching team and therapists, Team Manager Mr. Ralph Mckinney and BAAA President Mrs. Rosamunde Carey, we salute you for an awesome performance and execution. The mantra is true; Pride does run deep in the 242.