There are those great singular moments in sports that often define how an athlete’s career is celebrated.

A goal in the 90th minute of an important football game, a six off the final ball to win a tight World Cup cricket match or a buzzer-beating three pointer in the NBA playoffs.

Such moments can really serenade one’s memory.

The name Carlos Brathwaite will not be forgotten for a long time to come, not because of any great consistency but because of one stunning performance where he hit four sixes in the final over to propel West Indies to the ICC World T20 title in 2016.

The satisfaction of such a performance tends to linger and endears the sportsmen and women to those they satisfied with that one amazing effort.

Some sportsmen are gifted enough to reproduce performances of that ilk but there are others whose careers are characterized by a single achievement – and that is perfectly fine.

Barbadian sprinter Obadele Thompson can be placed in that category.

It isn’t to say Obadele didn’t have a noteworthy career overall - because he did.

He won an IAAF World Indoor 200m silver medal in 1999, a Commonwealth Games 100m bronze in 1998, a World University Games Gold over 100 metres that same year plus multiple Central America and Caribbean Championships and Games Gold medals.

However those performances, by themselves, might have been lost on the regular track and field fan if not for one stand-out performance. 

Obadele competed at three Olympic Games between 1996 and 2004.

He made an Olympic final on all three occasions but it was the night of September 23, 2000 that defined his life’s work in track and field.

Stoned-faced and focused, there was a sense of determination as he lined up for another shot at glory.

But when the gun went, he slowly picked up from the blocks. It was exactly the type of start no-one wants in an Olympic final.

Thoughts of his narrow misses in global finals must have flashed through his mind but the experience of fourth place finishes in the Atlanta 1996 200m final and both the 100 and 200 metres at the 1999 IAAF World Championships must have aided his composure as he produce a strong last 40 metres to motor by more fancied rivals like Britain’s Dwain Chambers and Jon Drummond of the United States.

It wasn’t his fastest ever performance but those 10.04 seconds have been his most celebrated, certainly in Barbados where they will recognize it for generations to come.

Surprisingly there were no great celebrations on the part of Obadele. There wasn’t even a smile visible from the television shots.

A congratulatory embrace with the men who finished ahead of him, Maurice Greene of the United States and Caribbean rival Ato Boldon followed and then a glimpse of what it meant to the then 24-year-old.

As he walked away from those embraces, and further out of camera shot there was a quiet pump of the fist – He had finally done it, independent Barbados finally had an Olympic medal.

When one thinks of Obadele Thompson his consistency in making Olympic finals might be mentioned.

For the record he competed in four of them.

But what Barbados, the Caribbean and indeed the world will remember, is his bronz-medal-run in Sydney Australia.

That performance, and the many one-off stunners in the world of sport deserve to be honored just as they live on in the memories of many.

With COVID-19 keeping children all over the island at home this term, I began to make a link between them and student-athletes who, because of the changing nature of sports, move from school to school, resulting in a similar sort of dislocation.

Dr Sasha Sutherland, the Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organization, RADO, says calling an athlete to alert them about the presence of a doping control officer goes against the international standard for testing.

Jamaica Olympian Maurice Smith has released a song, Revolution, which he says is his way of adding his voice to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement sweeping the globe as well as speaking out against the crime and violence in his homeland.

Olympic relay gold medallist Michael Frater said it hurt him badly that he had to give up the gold medal he won at the 2008 Beijing Olympics because of a teammate was determined to have been taking a prohibited substance.

Most people would jump at the chance of getting a second crack at getting something they initially get wrong, right. Veronica Campbell-Brown, one of the most successful female sprinters in history, is no different.

The 2004 Athens Olympics was my second watching on television but my first really understanding the stories behind the athletes who were representing my country.

Like the athletes had worked for four years, so had I in trying to understand the ins and outs of the sport.

I was only 14 years old, so there was still a lot to learn but I had by then learnt very well the name Veronica Campbell.

By this time the precocious talent from Clarke’s Town in Trelawny had already won the IAAF World Youth 100 metres title in 1999 and the IAAF World Under-20 sprint double in 2000.

Those achievements were sandwiched by a silver medal as part of Jamaica’s sprint relay team at the Sydney Olympics when she was only 18 years old.

Injuries in 2001 and 2003 delayed her senior World Championship debut but between that, she won a silver medal over 100 metres at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester England in 2002.

The warning signs get louder

As early as the indoor season of 2004 Veronica served warnings she would be a major force on the global scene even with a potentially long collegiate season for the University of Arkansas in prospect. 

She won the NCAA Indoor title over 200 metres, speeding to 22.43 seconds, and sending a strong signal to her competitors.

After a string of quality performances indoors and out, the former Barton County Community College athlete chose to forego the NCAA Outdoor Division One Championships to focus on her Olympic quest.

It was a master move by Campbell and her team as she took the professional route.    

I remember a particular race at the Weltklasse Golden League in Zurich, Switzerland. It was a stacked 100 metres field with Veronica Campbell among the principals.

Before the race, renowned commentator Stuart Storey said he thought the new Jamaican star could “win the Olympic title”.

Campbell finished fourth on that day, beaten by France’s Christine Aaron, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas and her Jamaican compatriot Aleen Bailey.

Storey then explained that Veronica was much better at 200 metres and that is where he favoured her for Olympic Gold.

He was right.

Around my community I listened to pot covers beating, doors and walls knocking, jumping as Veronica became the first Caribbean woman to win either a 100 or 200 Gold at the Olympic Games.

I have watched that race dozens of times since, whether it be to the stunning Caribbean voice that is Lance Whittaker or NBC’s Carol Lewis exclaiming Veronica’s devastating curve running.

For Jamaicans, the moment was massive.

The cycle of Jamaicans like Merlene Ottey, Grace Jackson and Juliet Cuthbert playing second fiddle to American and European sprinters had been broken.

The Caribbean, Jamaica had its Golden queen.

She also anchored the sprint relay team to Gold which meant she was involved in three of Jamaica’s five medals, having taken bronze in the 100 metres.

With the subsequent success that Jamaica has had, led by the legendary Usain Bolt and including women like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Elaine Thompson or the unforgettable work done by Merlene Ottey before them, it might be easy, especially for the new generation of athletics fans to miss the tremendous contribution of Veronica.

But she is truly among the greatest we have ever seen.

Will to excel on show

Her 2008 successful Olympic title defence was special, but it was her performance at the Jamaican Championships that year that will forever be etched in my mind.

Now bearing the name Campbell-Brown after her marriage to fellow Jamaican sprinter Omar Brown, she entered the Jamaican Olympic trials as the favourite for the sprint double but the world was shaken when she only placed fourth in the 100 metres despite a super-fast 10.88-second clocking.

A day later, she had to return for the 200 metres. Her Olympic aspirations hinged on that one race.

She also had to take on the three women who beat her in the 100: Kerron Stewart, Shelly-Ann Fraser and Sherone Simpson.

She did more than take them on, she beat them convincingly, clocking, still the fastest ever 200 time on Jamaican soil, 21.94 seconds.

Maybe that singular focus helped her to defend her title in Beijing and become only the second woman to defend the Olympic half-lap title.

As it stands, we will never know.

What we do know is that she produced another scintillating curve run and took Gold in a lifetime best, 21.74 seconds.

Veronica Campbell-Brown or VCB as she is now affectionately called has won eight global titles across World Championships, indoors and out and the Olympic Games.

She has a further 10 silver and 3 bronze medals, not counting her multiple global medals at the Youth and Junior levels.

She has always had a shy demeanour, but her desire to be the best has never been in question.

Outside of that tremendous run at the Jamaican Championship in 2008, VCB’s last global individual medal is also one that sticks to the memory.

In 2015 she was having a less-than-impressive year by her lofty standards.

She placed fourth in the 100 metres at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

In the 200 metres, she squeezed into the final as a fastest loser, almost labouring to 22.47 seconds.

It was only the sixth-fastest going into the championship race but importantly, her fastest time since the London 2012 Olympics.

After that semi-final, it felt as if Veronica had long past her best or anywhere close to it.

One last great run

But she had, what one might describe as one last great run, and on that night in Beijing she produced it.

From lane two, she powered around the bend like the Veronica of old. Her knocked knees, a glorious reminder of her greatest days.

The curve was vintage VCB as she inched clear of favourites Daphne Schippers of the Netherlands and Elaine Thompson, who was at the time Jamaica’s newest female sprinting sensation.

The old Veronica might have taken them to the line and snatched Gold, but not on that night in Beijing.

She could no longer hold her speed through 200 metres but still, it was one of her great runs as she crossed the line third in 21.97 seconds.

It was the first time she had broken 22 seconds since the 2010 season and she hasn’t done it since, more sharp reminders of what a miracle run it was.

It might do an injustice to her amazing legacy to speak much about her injury-plagued years beyond 2015.

In any case, there might be more to come as she hopes to qualify for a sixth Olympics come the rescheduled Games in Tokyo 2021.

But if Veronica never steps foot on a track again, her legacy will be sealed.

When she defended her Olympic title in 2008, a local TV reporter, Damion Gordon wrote, “Like wine to a party, Veronica Campbell-Brown is synonymous with athletics greatness.”

That, my friend, is how VCB should be remembered and spoken of – because she is now and always will be athletics greatness.

 

Ricardo Chambers has done Commentary on international track and field, cricket and Netball since 2010. He has also done local football commentary. For feedback you can email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Briana Williams will close out one chapter of her career on Wednesday with an eye on a future that involves college and the pursuit of what promises to be a successful professional career.

April 18, 1994

The sun wasn’t up yet, but I was already awake. I did my best not to stir my mother and my grandmother who were the human loaves in the sandwich we created on our double divan bed in Allman Town.

 The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has expressed sadness at the recent passing of the Jamaican sprint pioneer, Isis Clarke-Reid.

Clarke, who was 100 years old, died at her home in Florida on Monday.

 “I am sad at the passing of Isis Clarke-Reid, an extraordinary woman who helped to lay the foundation for what Jamaica has achieved in track and field. I had received news of her failing health and had been making preparations to visit her overseas when the COVID crisis disrupted international travel,” Minister Grange said.

“Long before Shelly-Ann Frazer-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown or Merlene Ottey, there was Isis Clarke, competing on dirt tracks; setting and breaking records; and helping to establish Jamaica as a serious competitor in the sport.”

Isis Clarke was a versatile athlete, competing in the 100 metres, the 200 metres and 80 metres low hurdles. 

She first represented Jamaica in international competition at the 1938 Central American and Caribbean Games held in Panama City. There, she, Gertrude Messam, Rhona Saunders and Beryl Delgado won the bronze medal in the 4x100 metres relay. At the 1946 CAC Games in Barranquilla, Colombia, Clarke was a member of the Jamaican team that won the silver medal in the 4x100 metres relay, running with Cynthia Thompson, Hyacinth Walters and Cynthia Llewlyn.

She was also a strong advocate for women in athletics, which she described as being ‘good for health’ in a 1938 newspaper quote.

“As a nation, we are grateful for the part that Isis Clarke-Reid, the ‘Champion Girl Sprinter’ played in Jamaica’s sports development.  We are thankful for her long life—100 years—and the inspiration that she has been and will continue to be,” Minister Grange said.

“I offer sincerest condolences to her family and friends.”

Jonielle Smith, the 2019 World Championship relay gold medallist underwent successful surgery Friday to repair a herniated disc that has been an issue for her since late December 2019 when she was involved in a motor vehicle accident.

This according to MVP International on its website today.

Since then, the 2018 CAC champion has been suffering from back pain, which was addressed Friday. Doctors expect her to make a full recovery in about four weeks and are optimistic about her return for the 2021 season.

The athlete is said to be in good spirits.

Smith was sixth in the 100m final in Doha in 2019 after being called in as a replacement for Briana Williams.

Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser has retained the services of Trinidadian attorneys and barristers Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle, who will be her representatives in upcoming anti-doping proceedings for whereabouts violations before an Independent Disciplinary Tribunal.

Asafa Powell broke the 100 metres world record on this day 15 years ago, and the New York Rangers ended a 54-year NHL title drought in 1994.

No man has ever run faster than Usain Bolt over 100m, but Powell was Jamaica's sprint king in 2005.

The Rangers were celebrating at Madison Square Garden 26 years ago, while Canada's cricketers will not want to be reminded of this date in 1979.

We go back in time to look at some memorable sporting moments that have taken place on June 14.

 

1979 - Canada crumble at Old Trafford

A Cricket World Cup contest between England and Canada always looked like it was going to be a mismatch.

That was very much the case in Manchester, where the minnows were skittled out for only 45 - the lowest ODI score in history at the time.

Bob Willis (4-11) and Chris Old (4-8) wreaked havoc, Franklyn Dennis making almost half of Canada's runs before England took just 13.5 overs to seal an eight-wicket win.

 

1994 - Rangers rule in New York

The Rangers had not been crowned NHL champions since way back in 1940 and it looked like they may have blown their chance in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks.

Mike Keenan's side led the series 3-1 after losing the opening match, but the Canucks rallied to force a decider.

The tension was almost unbearable for Rangers fans, but Brian Leetch, Adam Graves and Mark Messier were on target to secure a 3-2 victory and spark a huge party.

There has been no NHL glory for the Rangers since that triumph.

2005 - Powell keeps true to his word in Athens

A 22-year-old Powell said he was ready to break Tim Montgomery's 100m world record in Athens.

His confidence was certainly not unfounded, as he set a new mark of 9.77 seconds at the Olympic Stadium.

"It shows no-one knows how fast a man can run." Powell said after making history. He went faster another three times after Justin Gatlin had gone quicker in 2005.

Bolt holds the current record of 9.58, set in Berlin 11 years ago.

 

2007 - Imperious Spurs sweep Cavs

The NBA Finals 13 years ago proved to be one-sided, with the San Antonio Spurs dominating the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In their 40th season as a franchise, the Spurs wrapped up a 4-0 series victory with an 83-82 win in Cleveland.

Manu Ginobili scored a game-high 27 points as LeBron James' 24-point haul was in vain, with Tony Parker named Finals MVP for Gregg Popovich's side.

The Racers Grand Prix – Kingston Continental Tour Gold Meet, one of the biggest international meets in the Caribbean, has officially been cancelled for the 2020 track and field season.

Glen Mills, Chairman, Racers Grand Prix Organizing Committee, made the tough decision after careful observation of global sporting trends in relation to the novel coronavirus, as highlighted in a letter to the World Athletics (WA) dated Thursday, June 11, 2020.

“We are deeply disappointed to announce that the 2020 staging of the meet has been cancelled,” noted Mills.

“Especially after receiving such a great commendation from the WA. However, for the health and safety of all participants and stakeholders, we must look ahead to 2021 for the return of Racers Grand Prix. Hopefully, by then we will have sustainable engagement protocols for large sporting events in light of COVID-19.”

The meet, which was originally scheduled for Saturday, June 13, 2020, in Kingston, was one of ten meets in the new series designed to accommodate athletes from several disciplines cut from the Diamond League for 2020.

Racers Grand Prix is currently in dialogue with World Athletics, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), the Kingston and St Andrew Metropolitan Corporation (KSAMC), sponsors Adidas and Richard Mille, and other key partners to confirm the proposed date of Saturday, June 5, 2021. 

The move is in tandem with the rationale of the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, now tentatively slated for July 23, 2021 - August 8, 2021.  Fans of athletics can look forward to an exciting year of track and field events.

The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) officially opened the doors of its new office during a ceremony held at its new location at 1 Ballater Avenue, Kingston 10 on Thursday, June 11, 2020.

Page 1 of 17
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.