Caribbean Olympic Hall of Fame

July 3, 2012 | By Vision Newspaper |

We from the Caribbean certainly know how to walk like a champion, talk like a champion and of course run like a champion. Despite for being known as laid back, we have it lock!

The Summer Olympics, this world’s most prestigious sporting event. It’s where careers are made, records broken and history written. In the past, the Caribbean has triumphed with outstanding athletes.


Sloan Farrington was a Bahamian competitive sailor and the first Olympic medalist. He won bronze in the Star class at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne.

Triple jumper Frank Rutherford from the Bahamas won a bronze medal in 1992, becoming the first Bahamian track and field Olympic medalist. He now runs a program which prepares young Bahamian students for sport careers in the United States.

At the age of 34 Pauline Davis-Thompson won her first Olympic Gold in Sydney 2000 for 200m. She originally finished in second place behind American Athlete Marion Jones who later admitted taking performance enhancing drugs and was stripped of the title. With the 4x100m relay team Davis-Thompson secured Gold in 2000 and Silver in 1996.


The eastern West Indian country had a rather late debut at the Olympics in 1968. It took until 2000 for the nation to claim victory. Obadele Thompson made the dream come true and he became the first and so far only Olympic medalist from Barbados with a bronze medal in 100m.


Bermuda had its Olympic debut in 1936. In 1976 Clarence Hill secured the first medal for the country. The now 59-year-old received a Bronze medal as a heavyweight boxer at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. He is still Bermuda’s only Olympic medalist.


Right at it’s debut at the 1948 London Olympics, Jamaica claimed three medals. Arthur Wint, a doctor by profession, made history by winning silver in 800 meters and gold in 400m with his team mate Herbert Henry McKenley finishing second. Wint topped his victory in Helsinki 1952 with gold and a world record for 4x400m.

George Rhoden arrived for the 1952 Olympics as the world record holder and favourite for 400m. He did not disappoint and came in first in 400m as well as 4x100m relay.

Donald Quarrie was the next athlete taking a Gold for Jamaica. In 1976 in Montreal, Quarrie claimed victory in 200m. His trademark curve running secured an insurmountable lead and Jamaica’s first Olympic gold medal since 1952. The speedster from Harbour View competed at the two subsequent Olympic games taking the Bronze medal in the 200m in 1980 and a Silver medal in the 4×100 in 1984.

Merlene Ottey has had an extraordinary career and the longest as a top level international sprinter. She has won nine Olympic medals, the most by any woman in track and field history. In the 1980 Moscow games, Ottey became the first female English speaking Caribbean athlete to win an Olympic medal. (Bronze 200m) Despite winning many Gold medals at World Championships, she never achieved her dream in winning Gold at the Olympics. In 2002, Ottey became a Slovenian citizen, representing the county at international events.

Photo: Rodney Wilkes

Deon Hemmings rose to fame as the first Jamaican woman to win Olympic Gold. The leggy St. Ann native broke the Olympic record in 1996 in Atlanta with a time of 52.64 seconds. This time stood as Jamaican record for 12 years. Deon also won the Olympic silver medal at the 2000 Olympics and established herself as the finest female 400 metre hurdler in Olympic history.


Together with Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago entered the Olympic games for the first time in 1948 and secured a win at once. Weightlifter Rodney Wilkes, nicknamed “The Mighty Midget”, won silver and repeated his victory with bronze in 1952 in Helsinki.

In 1976 Hasely Crawford became his country’s first ever Olympic gold champion in 100m. He had also qualified for the 200m final but was forced to pull out mid-race after injuring his groin. Later a stadium was renamed in his honour.

Ato Boldon is a four-time Olympic medal winner over 100m and 200m. Only 2 other men in history, Namibian Frankie Fredericks and American Carl Lewis, have won as many Olympic individual sprint medals.  Boldon is known for his eccentric eye-wear in races.


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