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LEANING THE WRONG WAY By Rae Samuel

posted 4 Jun 2018, 17:01 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 4 Jun 2018, 17:09 ]
Let us be clear here. Bledman, Armstrong, Callender and Thompson, our 4x100m men's relay team are the victims here, not Usain Bolt. They are the one who got robbed that day in Beijing 2008 Olympics. 

The current narrative of Usain Bolt losing a medal at the Olympics is false and leans the wrong way. One cannot lose what was not one's rightfully from the beginning. It is almost as if we are being asked to apologise for proving Bolt is not invincible. 

Justin Gatlin won according to the rules at the last World Games, Bolt's farewell meet? That there was not a fairy tale ending to those games for Bolt is not Gatlin's fault.

Who's to blame? Bolt's team mate Nesta Carter who broke the golden rule, "thou shalt not get caught''. His infamy in Jamaica is now assured alongside Buju Banton, but that is not our concern. Our team has been robbed of the supreme moment of an athlete's career, mounting an Olympic podium as gold medallists, hearing the national anthem. Nothing compares to it in an athlete's life. Not to mention the accolades and economic benefits that flow from the achievement. An Olympic athlete appearing at a Diamond League meet commands top dollar.

Please note that the Court of Arbitration, the Privy Council of sport litigation, was emphatic in its declaration. To wit: ''There was a finding of an ADVR based on the presence of a prohibited substance in the Athlete's sample. The court further rules that.'' all other or further motions or prayers for relief are dismissed.'' Carter was asked to bear the costs of his failed appeal. The Court in summary has returned a unanimous verdict of guilty as charged.

This makes Richard Thompson our most successful Olympic athlete with gold and 2 silvers. It gives him the strongest opening by an Olympic athlete: gold and silver in his first such outing! What about the house and financial rewards that are traditionally due to such achievers? One can only wait and see.


We must also note that the denial would have hampered their achievements in subsequent years. An Olympic champion, like any champion, develops and carries swagger and a stronger sense of self which enhances further performance. Not to mention the esteem and respect paid by fellow competitors and by fellow citizens off the track. The gold on an Olympic medal never tarnishes. To quote one of our other 2 Olympic champions in a conversation with this writer: "You do not know the power of an Olympic gold medal."

It is a feel good moment when our sporting body is not in decline but in rot. We got creamed in Carifta Games, wrote a tawdry narrative leading up to and after the Commonwealth Games and the chair of the football federation is about to do a Basdeo Panday. Remember Bas was ruled too ill to serve prison time but subsequently flew out to the 2002 World cup tournament. David John Williams has absented himself from General Council meetings on medical grounds but is reported preparing to fly out to Russia. So it is not only 
Archie '' buckin' dem up'' at the moment. Did someone mention cricket?

This should also spark a renewed interest in track and field. I worked at last 
Hampton Games and it is encouraging to see the turnout of athletes and parents.Track and field, because it is overwhelmingly about individual participation, allows for mass entry, unlike the team sports like football, cricket or basketball. It is amazing to see how many youngsters from 7-11 take part and have mastered the basics, performing with correct technique; reminding that in this era the elite athlete is often just about 18-20 years old.

Justice has been served. The rules of engagement have corrected a historical wrong...somewhat.

Callender, Armstrong, Thompson, Bledman now take their place in Olympic history.
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