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THE GODS OF SPORT AT IT AGAIN! by Rae Samuel

posted 15 Aug 2017, 07:55 by Gerry Kangalee
Whimsical, prankish…reminding us that whatever we imagine may not always follow the script of the gods! World's 2017: a form of redemption for some, a not too gentle reminder for others, further manifestations of change in the world of sport as there are changes in the economic and political configurations in the world.

Enter Trinidad and Tobago with one of the strangest roles, tied in with the fate of departing Usain Bolt. First off we shook up the track and field world with that golden run in the men's 4x400. The conversation was ongoing about by how much USA would win. We were dismal, for once again, one year after Rio 2016 Olympics, we looked to be heading home with one bronze medal.

The pre-conversation was about how well the British team would do after the stellar performance in 4x100m men, or how much of a threat Spain, Poland or France would be. Fortunately and wisely our quartet of Solomon, Richards, Cedenio, Gordon, were not listening much, if at all, to pre-race analysis. Richards really stepped up, Cedenio accelerated like a maxi taxi hustling in traffic and Gordon brought it home. It is the best performance ever by an athletic team. While these Games may not have the prestige of the Olympics, the performances are equally rated.

What does this is have to do with Usain? There was something called the "re-allocated medal ceremonies'' held at the Games. This was for athletes whose results were upgraded following protests or failed drug tests. In the words of Lord Seb Coe, head of the IAAF, they no longer wanted to 'hand over such medals in a car park or send them by post".

This writer has been following the reversion to calling Usain an eight time Olympic champion. There was no way that the re-allocation ceremony for our 4x100m quartet from London 2012 was going to be held then: that would have been injury to his image even before the one that followed to his hamstring; followed by our upset win on the last day of this major championship event. Trinidad and Tobago would have been pilloried in the media, as if we ourselves had tainted the medal Jamaica lost.

What does it mean for our athletics going forward? Country men and country women, barring a fundamental change in the leadership of local administration of track and field…nothing. Before this event there was Keshorn, there was Jehue, there is Cedenio in 2016 Olympics, our women sprinters who again in the media have been pleading for an organised approach to preparation of teams leading up to the major events.

Ask ourselves, what types of discussions have been held nationally with our coaches since 2016 Rio Olympics? As far as I know - none. What is the maturation process, development process for the upcoming athletes; some of the competitors cannot even vote or obtain driver's licenses in most countries.

Th
e Jamaican team has now to deal with its own mortality. They won one gold medal in the 110 hurdles. Injuries hit their team in the 4x100m for men and the women's 4x400m. Their Olympic superstar in the women's 100/200, Elaine Thompson, faltered. Never mind the absurd comments about age, delayed start of events or who served periods of suspension for drug abuse, these topics would NEVER have become part of the conversation had the results been different, if the gods of sport had not been in an impish mood and denied fairy tale endings. Justin Gatlin was not the asterisk Team Jamaica wanted but that is how history unfolds.

What next for us at home: the usual banal comments from self serving interests within and without the sport? The administration of track and field will step forward and suggest we are in great shape after all. The Sports minister will greet the athletes returning from the Games with all flourish possible to remove himself from under the clouds hovering over him. The 1% and others will take out full page ads. (I do not know what JTUM will do). What kind of package, deservedly so, will they receive? And when will the 2012 gold medalists receive their accolades and their golden packages?

As soon as Ocean Flower 3 gets here? Aw…don't be like that!

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