JOA clears the air regarding absence, voices disappointment with SportsMax article

By July 29, 2019

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.
Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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