Let down by countrymen
By OBADELE THOMPSON | Tue, August 07, 2012 - 12:03 AM
Anyone WHO KNOWS ME well knows that I don't usually comment. But let me state my deep belief.
If I had represented Jamaica during my career, I have no doubt that I would have been the World and Olympic champion.
Let me repeat that: I have zero doubt that if I represented Jamaica, let alone one of the biggest countries, I would have been the World and Olympic champion.
If only people knew how “easy” the Jamaican, United States, British, Canadian, etc. athletes have it!
Let Usain Bolt or Tyson Gay run for one of our truly small [minded] countries and you would probably not know much about them.
Bolt, Blake, Gay and Powell are phenomenal talents, but they are living the good life because others paved their paths.
Bolt is Bolt because of the revolutionary and awesome Jamaican tradition which began 60 years before he emerged.
He comes from a country which produced the likes of Arthur Wint, George Rhoden, Herb McKinley, Lennox Miller, Don Quarrie, Bert Cameron, Ray Stewart, Merlene Ottey, etc., etc.
He is a product of a system that allows his talents to be fully harnessed with minimal hiccups.
He has never had to go to championships with inadequate gear or without medical staff or stand on a podium after winning and see the wrong colour flag and not hear the Jamaican anthem. I can tell you all stories . . believe me.
Surveying my career, what and who I had to fight from my own country, the poor equipment that I had early in my career, walking into big stadiums of 100 000 people and seeing no Barbados flag or colours except the lone official flag hanging high up in the stadium, having no teammates to talk to in my event as I was processed through the call rooms, etc. before I ran, and several (not all, but many) unprepared officials.
Doubt me? Consider this: I had the same time as Ato Boldon in the 200 metres finals at the Sydney Games in 2000, but the Barbados athletics officials did not even file a protest within the 30-minute window after the event. Athletes cannot file protests on their own behalf.
Result: Boldon third and I came fourth. Reason given – it would have cost US$100 to do it.
Wow! So all my hard work for years [was not recognised]. All the national pride that we could have amassed if it was deemed that I was ahead of or tied with Boldon, thereby giving our country its second Olympic medal as an independent nation never materialized.
Ironically, days later, when I was asked by top Jamaican officials at those Games about my protest and I told them that none was made, they were completely dumbfounded and angry.
They told me that would never happen if I ran for them.
l Obadale Thompson won a bronze medal for Barbados in the men’s 100 metres at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. This article was taken from St Kitts-Nevis News.
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