Penn Relays to posthumously honour renowned journalist Hubert Lawrence with Jesse Abramson Award

By April 17, 2024

The prestigious Penn Relays, set to take place at Franklin Field in Philadelphia from April 25-27, 2024, will pay tribute to the late journalist, author, and track and field analyst Hubert Lawrence by presenting him posthumously with the esteemed Jesse Abramson Award. Lawrence, who passed away suddenly at the age of 63 on February 23, 2024, had been a significant figure in track and field journalism for more than three decades, covering the Penn Relays from 1995 to 2023.

The Jesse Abramson Award recognizes an active member of the media who has consistently demonstrated a devotion to the Penn Relays.

Aaron Robison, the Meet Director of the Penn Relays since 2021, when he was appointed Associate Director at the University of Pennsylvania, expressed enthusiasm for honouring Lawrence with the Abramson Award this year, acknowledging Lawrence's profound impact on the sport. He highlighted the significance of this tribute, noting that Lawrence will be only the third recipient from Jamaica to receive the award.

Jamaica Observer writer Paul Reid was the first-ever Jamaican recipient in 2010 while broadcast journalist Ed Barnes received the award in 2018.

"We're very excited to be able to honour him with the Abramson award this year," said Robison. "With his untimely passing, we just felt that this was an extremely appropriate time to be able to do something like this for someone that has had such a huge impact on the world of track and field within Jamaica, and then also here at the Penn Relays. And last week, I was touching base with Irwin Clare of Team Jamaica Bickle, and he made the recommendation and we thought, what a perfect tribute, and what a perfect opportunity to honour Mr Lawrence."

Robison emphasized Lawrence's universal respect within the track and field community, noting the positive feedback from athletes and coaches alike. "In the media world, it's almost like there's two ends of the spectrum here. There's the really well respected, all the athletes, all the coaches, all the media really likes the person or nobody likes the person. Hubert is absolutely on the end of everyone has just incredible things to say about him," Robison remarked. "What is an incredible tribute for a journalist is when the athletes that they cover have only beautiful things to say about them. That tells you all you need to know about the person."

The Abramson Award will be presented twice during the Penn Relays weekend. The first presentation will occur during the acknowledgement ceremony before the television broadcast window on Saturday afternoon at 1:25 p.m. in front of the whole crowd. The second presentation will take place during the officials' reception after the meet at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Robison reflected on Lawrence's impact on the Penn Relays and the wider track and field community, underscoring his professionalism and rapport with athletes. "To be able to have that class and that dignity, to be respected by those that you're reporting on, that's a real, real skill and an incredible tribute to him," Robison concluded.

The Penn Relays' decision to honour Hubert Lawrence with the Abramson Award underscores Lawrence's enduring legacy and profound influence on the sport of track and field, both in Jamaica and on the international stage. His contributions will be celebrated and remembered during this year's relay festival, ensuring that his impact continues to resonate within the track and field community.

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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