The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has expressed extreme disappointment with the statements attributed to certain female Olympians (in a recent Sportmax article intituled "Upgraded and Disrespected") who received  upgraded 4 x 400m relay silver medals from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games during the Mueller Anniversary Games in London on July 20.

 

The statements conveyed the impression that the JOA neglected to make appropriate arrangements regarding the attendance of the Olympians at the medal reallocation ceremony in London.

 

The JOA, in responding, enumerated the facts:

 

  1. In compliance with directives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the JOA was requested to indicate a preferred event at which the medal reallocation ceremony for the Olympians could be held.

 

  1. On May 30, 2019, after consultation with the Olympians, the JOA informed the IOC of the agreed selection of the IAAF World Championships to be held in Doha from September 27 to October 6, 2019.

 

  1. On June 4 the JOA received communication from the IOC advising that discussions will be held with the IAAF regarding the selected event.

 

  1. On June 12, 2019, the JOA received communication from the IOC in which it was informed of the IAAF's advice that the ceremony could not be facilitated at the World Athletics Championships.

 

  1. The Olympians were accordingly advised and, following discussions with Novlene Williams-Mills, Rosemarie White and Bobbygaye Wilkins, Novlene Williams-Mills (who from representations held herself out to be the spokesperson) suggested either a Diamond League event during August or September or the IAAF Gala scheduled for later in the year both of which would be convenient to the JOA.

 

  1. On June 25, 2016, the JOA requested the IOC to give consideration to the proposed events for the ceremony. However, on July 1, 2019 the IOC advised that the IAAF could only accommodate the ceremony during the London edition of the Diamond League Meets which was scheduled to take place on July 20 and 21, 2019.

 

  1. The information was relayed by the JOA to the Olympians the same day for their review and decision and simultaneously they were advised to take into consideration the fact that the event being only three weeks away, there may be logistic challenges particularly in view of firstly, the fact that persons including some Olympians and their allowed guests required visas and, secondly, the imminent games commitments and preparation requirements of the JOA which may very well preclude attendance.

 

  1. All Olympians with the exception of Shericka Williams (who preferred the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games) notwithstanding confirmed on July 3 their decision in favour of the London Diamond League Meet scheduled for July 20 and 21. Ms. Williams eventually agreed and, with the consent of all Olympians, the JOA informed the IOC that same day of their decision.

 

  1. In keeping with the advice of the IOC, each Olympian was allowed two accompany guests to the ceremony. Accordingly, the number of persons in the party totaled eighteen and of this number, nine persons (three athletes and six guests) required UK visas.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The JOA assisted all nine persons in applying for visas which entailed completion by the JOA of the relevant application forms at the request of the Olympians, payment of visa fees, payment of the airfare for two athletes and one guest to come to Jamaica for the visa appointments, hotel accommodation for one overseas athletes and a guest, personal delivery of copies of application forms and letters to the Olympians' homes in Kingston and the JOA's interface with the British High Commission in expediting the visa process. Total payments by the JOA exceeded one million dollars.

 

  1. The JOA, at all material times, stated in emails and telephone conversations  to the Olympians the advice of the IOC that the IOC would be responsible for flight arrangements to and from the event as well as hotel accommodation in London and that the IOC would liaise with the IAAF regarding transportation and event logistics during their stay in London.

 

  1. On July 18, 2019, the JOA received from the IOC the logistic arrangements which were conveyed to the Olympians on the morning of July 19, 2019.The JOA reiterates that matters relating to the on the day ceremonial arrangements were not in the JOA's remit.

 

  1. Throughout the treatment of matters, the JOA constantly kept the  Olympians advised and updated every step of the way by copious emails, telephone calls and instant messaging and devoted considerable time (often in the wee hours of the morning) in completing visa applications online for the Olympians and guests, in interfacing with the Olympians (including ceremonial attire) and in communicating with the IOC regarding arrangements.

 

  1. The JOA is obliged, given the attributed statements, to place on record that Mrs. Novlene Willliams-Mills, during the planning process, tendered an apology to the JOA for inappropriate conduct and mis-conceived concerns articulated by her and not shared by others. 

 

 

 

  1. From the very inception, the JOA offered the Olympians congratulations on their elevation to the silver medal position and, upon confirmation of the medal reallocation ceremony in London, expressed an apology for absence, given primarily its prior commitments and obligations respecting the 2019 Lima Pan American Games.

 

  1. The JOA is further obliged to again place on record that, subsequent to the publication of the article by Sportmax, it received thank you notes and emails from Shereefa LLoyd and her Nephew, Rosemarie Whyte, Bobbygaye Wilkins and Christine Day and is consequently appreciative of their kind recognition of its efforts.

 

  1. The JOA always celebrates with our athletes and commends them on their well-deserved achievements personally and on behalf of country and continues to be inspired by the principles of integrity, honesty, equity and fair play in the discharge of its national obligations to, and dealings with, its stakeholders.

The Jamaica Olympic Association has sought to clear up suggestions it neglected to pay full respsect to six Jamaican Olympians who collected upgraded silver medals during the Mueller Anniversary Games in London last week.

The six, who were having bronze medals from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics upgraded, had voiced disappointment that there were no Jamaican officials to share what was a proud moment for them.

According to the JOA though, every effort was made to be present and the presence of the girls at the ceremony in London, had much to do with its efforts to ensure the event took place at a time convenient to the athletes.

“We didn’t have a representative from Jamaica, from the JOA, no one. I feel disappointed,” Novlene Williams-Mills had said after the occasion.

Williams-Mills, along with Shereefa Lloyd, Shericka Williams, Rosemarie Whyte-Robinson, and Bobby-Gaye Wilkins collected silver medals for the mile relay in 2008 while Christine Day, Lloyd, Whyte-Robinson, Williams and Williams-Mills, collected silver medals for 2012.

“For many years I represented Jamaica at the highest level. I have represented Jamaica at four Olympics at the highest level, World Championships at the highest level. I’ve made multiple Jamaica teams and for not one person from the JOA or in sports was able to make sure everything went smoothly and to ensure that we were taken care of was really disappointing.”

According to the the Olympic body, however, upon being informed of the medal ceremony, they entered into discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about scheduling a convenient date for all stakeholders.

Despite those efforts, however, the JOA was not able to send representatives because of prior commitments to the 2019 Pan America Games in Lima, Peru.

The challenge in being able to attend, the JOA said, was relayed to the athletes but that all preparations for a smooth medal ceremony, inclusive of accommodation and airtravel had been handled by the International Olympic Committee.

“They were advised to take into consideration the fact that the event being only three weeks away, there may be logistic challenges, particularly in view of firstly, the fact that persons including some Olympians and their allowed guests required visas and, secondly, the imminent games commitments and preparation requirements of the JOA which may very well preclude attendance,” the body said in a statement on Friday.

The body was also quick to point out that the view that the athletes were not seen as priority was erroneous, and that it would always seek to commend the athletes on their achievements.

 

With regard to the arrangements being made, the JOA said the Olympians were informed that the IOC would be responsible for flight arrangements to and from the event, as well as hotel accommodations and that the IOC would liaise with the IAAF regarding transportation and event logistics.

Six Jamaican Olympians, who collected upgraded silver medals during the Mueller Anniversary Games in London on Sunday, said they were honoured to have their bronze medals from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games upgraded but were greatly disappointed that no Jamaican officials were on hand for what was a special moment for them and the country they represented.

The women said they feel slighted because no Jamaican official accompanied them to the United Kingdom last week to collect their medals. They say they had mismatched uniforms, there was no one to greet them at the London Stadium, no one knew they were getting the medals and to date, no one has sent a congratulatory message.

One of the women who chose to remain unidentified said that when they arrived at the stadium on Sunday they saw Sprintec head coach Maurice Wilson, who seemed surprised to see them and asked why they were there. This, she said, suggested that not even the Jamaican coaches and athletes who were there knew that the women were going to have their medals upgraded on the day.

It is almost as if, they said, nobody cares about them once their careers are over.

The two teams had their medals upgraded due to doping sanctions handed to the silver medal-winning teams of Russia from both Games.

Shereefa Lloyd, Shericka Williams, Rosemarie Whyte-Robinson, Novlene Williams-Mills and Bobby-Gaye Wilkins collected silver medals for the mile relay in 2008 while Christine Day, Lloyd, Whyte-Robinson, Williams and Williams-Mills, collected silver medals for 2012.

Both teams received their medals on Sunday, July 21 on the final day of the Mueller Anniversary Games held in London. Two-time Olympic champion Mr Pal Schmitt, a member of the International Olympic Committee, presented the medals.

“For me personally it was an honour that after all these years we got our medals upgraded but the biggest part for me was that all these ladies that have run in the past were able to make the trip. For me, sharing that experience with them again was wonderful,” said Williams-Mills, who now has three Olympic silver medals and a bronze.

“For the Mueller Anniversary Diamond League to even extend that opportunity for us to come there and receive our medals, for the IOC to make sure that we rightfully got those medals after we started the process a year ago with the JOA, for them to accommodate us and make sure we feel the love is wonderful.”

She said it was also great that there were able to bring a few family members with them to witness them receive their medals enjoy a fun day watching Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce storm to 10.78 in the 100m, Akeem Bloomfield win the 400m in a season-best 44.40 and Rushell Clayton win the 400m hurdles in a personal-best 54.16.

“That was really good,” she said.

On the other side of the occasion is that that so few knew that they were going to be in London to collect those medals nor was there any representation from Jamaica.

“We didn’t have a representative from Jamaica, from the JOA, no one. I feel disappointed,” Williams-Mills said.

“For many years I represented Jamaica at the highest level. I have represented Jamaica at four Olympics at the highest level, World Championships at the highest level. I’ve made multiple Jamaica teams and for not one person from the JOA or in sports was able to make sure everything went smoothly and to ensure that we were taken care of was really disappointing.”

She said that no one from the JOA or JAAA to congratulate them and to ensure that everything went well was a slap in the face.

Lloyd said everything worked out in the end but, “Yes, I think official should have been there because it was difficult to get information about tickets and credentials to go to the stadium,” she said.

“Once we got to the stadium it was also a bit confusing because we didn’t have much direction or guidance. I also did not like the fact that we did not get the logistics about the trip until the day before we travelled. But overall, it wasn’t a bad trip and I do take into consideration that the time to prepare for the trip was short.”

Christine Day was the fastest woman in qualifying for Saturday’s semi-finals of the 400 metres at the Supreme Ventures/JAAA National Championships on at the National Stadium in Kingston on Friday.

Jamaica’s team of Shericka Jackson, Janieve Russell, Christine day and Stephenie McPherson only had their compatriots for company as they easily claimed 4x400 women’s honours at the 125th staging of the Penn Relays at the Franklin Field Stadium. 

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