Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 18th 2013 Contents A62
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt August 18, 2013
COLIN EH CROFT
You may remember that very poignant scene in
the 1993 film "Cool Runnings", which highlighted
exploits of Jamaica s first bobsled team at 1988 s
Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada.
After tremendous effort, hard work and some luck,
qualifying for the final runs, the crowd asked, highly
incredulously: "Where are these guys from?"
The loud, proud answer from the crowd and pro-
ducers of the film too, was a fanatical "Jamaica!"
With the Winter Olympics only weeks away now
in Sochi, Russia, we should all remember Devon Har-
ris, Dudley Stokes, Michael White and Nelson Stokes,
aka Derice Bannock, Sanka Coffee, Yul Brenner and
Junior Bevil, respectively, in the film.
If ever there were absolute pioneers in Caribbean
sports, like the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier
League (CPL), these guys certainly were the originals.
Along with then outlawed and castigated coach,
Howard Siler, "Irving Blitzer" in the film, they changed
the history of the Winter Games forever.
Hot-blooded people from a hot country were on
the winter map.
Some may know that I, loosely, collect sporting
memorabilia so one of my most prized possessions
is a Winter Olympics pin given to me by Stokes (Dud-
ley) and Harris, whom I met in Jamaica years ago.
But back to the present.
With much "hooballoo" and agro about perform-
ance enhancing drugs in sports; special mention to
cycling and athletics; we must be eternally grateful
to Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce,
and T&T s Jehue Gordon, for lifting dark clouds that
still threaten to engulf Caribbean athletics.
After all, T&T s Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Semoy
Hackett, with Jamaica s Veronica Campbell-Brown
and Asafa Powell are among others, still under quite
extensive drug investigations.
Hopefully, they would all be found not guilty, not
even liable and could continue their mostly stellar
careers. Time will indeed tell that full story.
But when our athletes win, clean and fair, they
represent all of us.
Yes, we are all from the West Indies!
Bolt, such a phenomenon and absolutely unique,
will probably end up with so many records that none
of us now alive will see them broken in our lifetimes.
He is truly in a class of his own; a legend of any
But it is Fraser-Pryce, who has operated and almost
lived in the shadow of Campbell-Brown, who must
be applauded most. She just, as Ato Boldon suggested,
focused on the job at hand, forgetting all happening
Gordon won only the second gold medal at the
World Championships for T&T after Boldon back in
1997, won gold in Athens in the 200 metres and who
suggested long ahead of time without any prejudice
or insularity whatsoever, that he expected Gordon
to win that 400m hurdles race.
Gordon Greenidge, head coach of T&T s Red Steel,
is generally correct in suggesting that the CPL will
never fully eliminate insularity in the Caribbean but
at least, we can all celebrate these athletic wins as
if each athlete was from our own country or island,
Personally, and I have said this many times in my
own sporting life, even with a Guyanese passport
still, that I stopped being Guyanese when I first played
for West Indies Youths against England in 1972.
I know that this is very hard to understand or
appreciate but then and afterwards in the senior
team, I became West Indian, absolutely forgetting
the "smallness" of just one country, but representing
Having been ostracised, criticised, even recently
being outright eliminated from being involved in
West Indies cricket, including the CPL, I still will
always support our sportsmen and athletes and would
dare anyone to show me anywhere otherwise, where
I have been anything but honest and objective.
Unfortunately, per Gordon Greenidge and others
too, objectivity does not always work in the Caribbean.
As one supporter once said to me: "Crofty,
we agree with all of what you say but remember
that is also we team too." In other words, if you
do not agree with what they think or say, then
you are against them.
Anyway, this question has been asked before
but can you imagine, without any possibilities
of course, what a force an all-West Indian ath-
letics team would be and could have been in
the past, with athletes like Merlene Ottey or
Boldon included or later, with Bolt, Gordon and
Fraser-Pryce under one flag?
Even the all-conquering West Indies cricket
teams of the 1970 s and 1980 s would have had
to take a back seat to the athletes, so many and
such high standards we have set, as a region,
in that sporting practice.
Bolt and Fraser-Pryce, especially with the
world trying desperately to find some form of
its own reality as to why Jamaicans are so suc-
cessful in athletics, must have been drug tested
more times than lab rats are tested, for new
medicines, before being given to humans.
Neither has even had a murmur. That, in
itself is so great!
Yes, these special, wonderful athletic victories
must be celebrated fully, by all Caribbean people!
WI breeding ground for success
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