Keshorn Walcott’s gold medal may have been the biggest surprise of the Olympic Games in London, England. Yesterday, Walcott shocked everyone at Olympic Stadium when his second throw of 84.58 metres topped the Men’s Javelin event, less than a month after he became the world junior champion. He astonished himself also, saying, “I’m surprised I even made the final. I just went out there to relax and enjoy it and it worked out. “It means everything to me. This is what it’s all about.” Walcott, from Toco, pushed T&T’s medal count to three before the men’s 4x100m relay team of Richard Thompson, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender and Marc Burns added a bronze medal to make it four—T&T’s best medal haul at an Olympic Games.
The others came from Lalonde Gordon, who won bronze in the men’s 400m on Monday, and the the men’s 400m relay final. The local men finished fourth in the men’s 4x100m relay, but were promoted after Canada, which was originally third, was disqualified for stepping out of lane. But yesterday clearly belonged to Walcott, who made it the second time in the history of the Olympics that T&T’s anthem was played and its flag lifted above all others during the medal ceremony. The first was sprinter Hasely Crawford, who won gold in the Men’s 100m final in the 1976 Montreal Games in Canada. Walcott gave T&T its first victory in an Olympic field event and also became only the second non-European athlete to take the crown in 100 years of the Olympic Games. “Honestly, I was just glad to make it into the final. I was just looking to do a personal best,” said the soft-spoken Walcott.
He established the lead in the opening round with a throw of 83.51 metres, to break his own national record of 82.83, and increased it in the second round with 84.58 which proved enough to win on the night. The only other thrower who came close was Ukraine’s Oleksandr Pyatnytsya, whose third effort, of 84.51, was some seven centimetres short. Finland’s Antti Ruuskanen was third with a throw of 84.12. “My heart was beating really fast going into the last throw. I knew these guys were experienced. But I’m so happy now.” Defending Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen from Norway and Czech Republic’s Vitezslav Vesely, who threw 88.34 metres in qualifying, were the favourites coming into the final. Thorkildsen had to settle for sixth place with his attempt of 82.63. “I just trained my hardest and tried to enjoy every time I come out,” Walcott said. He had only great things to say of his mother, Beverly, and his coach, Ishmael Mastrafa Lopez.  “I want to thank the entire country. Firstly my mom, she believed in me throughout from since I started. My coach had been guiding me. “I just want to say thanks again to the entire country for supporting me and believing in me,” said the golden Walcott.
By Rachael Thompson-King

Sport Minister Anil Roberts described yesterday as the country's "most successful day in our Olympic history".

In a press statement issued by the Sports Company of T&T, Roberts was described as "uncharacteristically lost for words" following yesterday's historic events.

"Today, August 11, 2012 is a day that will be forever etched in my memory. Today is Trinidad and Tobago's most successful day in our Olympic history, and we have many fantastic achievements of which we can boast. This bronze medal following our gold in the javelin event was a most fitting way to end the Olympics, which I'm sure was followed closely by all 1.3 million supporters," he said.

"As a minister, coach and citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, my heart is swollen with pride, honour and complete joy that these great athletes have all brought to our country on our golden anniversary of Independence. The men and women of the 2012 Olympic team are national heroes in their own right. Once again, Trinidad and Tobago has shown the world what we are made of."

Yesterday, the Sport Company applauded Trinidad and Tobago's "Fantastic Four" for their bronze medal.

"In the final event of the 2012 Summer Olympics, the men's 4x100m relay team sprinted their way into the history books and secured Trinidad and Tobago's third bronze medal of the games.

"The quartet's stellar performance also meant a fourth overall medal in London, making this year's Olympic Games the most successful of any Trinidad and Tobago delegation. As a result, Trinidad and Tobago now ranks as the country with the third highest number of medals per capita.

"The Beijing 2008 silver medallists were led by Keston Bledman, followed by strong second and third legs from Marc Burns and Emmanuel Callender. Richard "Torpedo" Thompson ran a crucial anchor leg, crossing the finish line in 38.12 secs," the release stated.

"Up against some of the fastest men in history, including fellow Caricom powerhouse Jamaica, the Trinidad and Tobago team held their own and, with an unparalleled drive and determination, secured this twin-island's last medal of the Games.

"In what can be described as a race of redemption following a close qualifying round, the Fantastic Four showed true grit and athletic excellence to complete the race, despite a slight error in the final baton change," it said.


Keshorn Walcott produced a shocker at the Olympic Stadium here in London, England, yesterday, becoming only the second Olympic gold medallist from Trinidad and Tobago.

The 19-year-old from Toco emerged victorious in the men's javelin, hurling the spear 84.58 metres in the second round to upset a strong field, including Norway's two-time Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen.

At the 1976 Games in Montreal, Canada, Hasely Crawford struck gold for T&T in the men's 100 metres dash. It took 36 years for the country's second Olympic gold.

But it was worth the wait. The Trinbagonians at the Olympic Stadium yesterday savoured the moment, singing along lustily as "Forged from the Love of Liberty" blared from the speakers during the victory ceremony.

"I'm more than stunned," said Walcott, after receiving his medal. "I just went into the final to enjoy it, so to come out with the gold medal is a feeling I can't describe right now.

"I know everyone is proud of me," he continued. "I'm just thankful for all the support. I'm going back to the Games Village to celebrate with the team, and we're leaving (today), so we'll celebrate in Trinidad too. I know they're going mad in Toco."

The newly crowned Olympic champion is expected to touch down at Piarco International Airport close to midnight, tonight, on Caribbean Airlines flight BW903.

Walcott opened yesterday's competition with a new Pan American junior and national open record, landing the spear 83.51m to move from fifth to fourth on the all-time world junior (under-20) list. There was a big smile from the reigning world junior champion as he took an early lead.

It was a lead Walcott would never relinquish. In round two, he produced the big one, the 84.58m effort moving him into second spot on the all-time junior list, resetting his records in the process. The teenager could not contain himself. Another huge smile broke out, he spread his arms wide and he hit his chest.

Though he fouled on his third attempt, Walcott remained in the gold medal position.

Already in the history books by becoming the first male field athlete from T&T to appear in an Olympic final, the four-time Carifta Games champion was threatening to write an even bigger story.

An 80.64m effort in the fourth round was followed by a foul in round five. The T&T thrower, however, was still in pole position.

It was do or die for Thorkildsen and company in the final round. Well, any hopes of removing the youngest man in the competition from the top spot died. There was no one to match the 84.58m throw.

Walcott was exultant, T&T's second Olympic gold medallist racing over to his coach, Cuban Ismael Lopez for a tight hug. The celebration had begun.

"I want to thank my mom for believing in me throughout; my coach who has been guiding me, doing a great job. And thanks to the entire country for believing in me and supporting me."

Walcott told the Sunday Express he could not believe he had emulated Crawford's historic feat.

"I can't really believe it right now. Knowing that Mr Crawford was the biggest name in track and field when I was small, and remembering when I was hoping to meet him…"

Ukraine's Oleksandr Pyatnytsya earned silver, yesterday, with an 84.51m effort, while bronze went to Finland's Antti Ruuskanen, who threw 84.12m. Thorkildsen had to settle for sixth spot, the Norwegian's hopes of completing a hat-trick of Olympic triumphs dashed when he could only manage a best effort of 82.63m.

The Olympic men's javelin event has been dominated by Europeans. In 23 previous competitions, between 1908 and 2008, European throwers won 22 times. The only blemish on that record came in 1952, in Helsinki, Finland, American Cy Young claiming the top spot.

Sixty years later, Keshorn Walcott has brought the title to the western hemisphere for only the second time in Olympic history, the T&T golden boy's heroics creating one of the biggest stories of London 2012.

By Kwame Laurence


Trinidad's Keshorn Walcott completed a remarkable double by taking a surprise Olympic javelin gold less than a month after becoming world junior champion.

Trinidad is better associated with cricket - Brian Lara, after all, is the island's favourite son - or sprinting. Their relay team did claim bronze behind Jamaica and the USA.

But now we must think javelin after Saturday night's extraordinary competition in the Olympic Stadium which saw Walcott win gold with a throw of 84.58 metres.

In winning the title Walcott became only the second non-European to take the crown in 100 years of the Olympic Games, the last being an American back at the 1952 Helsinki Games.

He took the lead in the first round with a healthy opener of 83.51 metres and increased it in the second round with 84.58 metres which proved to be enough to win on the night, despite the Ukraine's Oleksandr Pyatnytsya third effort of 84.51 metres with Finn Antti Ruuskanen back in third after a throw of 84.12m.

There had looked to be plenty of potential winners in the field, including defending Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen from Norway and the Czech Republic's Vitezslav Vesely, who threw 88.34 metres in the qualifying rounds and is coached by three-time Olympic champion Jan Zelezny.

However, Thorkildsen could only manage sixth as Walcott, just 19, and winner of the world junior title earlier this summer, proved too strong on the night and as a result may just have provided another sporting option for the children of Trinidad.

'I just went out there to relax and enjoy it and it worked for me,' said Walcott, after his second-round effort was good enough for gold.

'It means everything to me. I just train my hardest and try to enjoy every time I come out.'

It was Trinidad and Tobago's first victory in an Olympic field event.

By Ian Stafford


Deon Lendore ran his heart out for Trinidad and Tobago at the Olympic Stadium, here in London, England, yesterday, battling to the line to earn his team bronze in the London 2012 men's 4x400 metres relay.

Lendore had to contend with thousands and thousands of screaming Britons, determined to push their anchorman Martyn Rooney into the bronze medal position. But the 19-year-old T&T quartermiler was even more determined than the partisan crowd, holding off Rooney to finish the job that had been started by Lalonde Gordon, and continued by Jarrin Solomon and Ade Alleyne-Forte.

"I don't think I ever ran so hard in my life," Lendore told the Express. "It was a wonderful feeling. I may have cried if he passed me.

"Seeing that we ran a new national record," he continued, "and seeing my teammates running up to me, it was a very emotional moment."

The T&T quartet returned a time of two minutes, 59.40 seconds, smashing the 3:00.38 national record they had established in the qualifying round, on Thursday.

There was also a national record for Bahamas, but more importantly the Bahamians struck gold, Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller combining for a 2:56.72 clocking. The United States, champions in the event 16 times, were forced to settle for silver on this occasion, in 2:57.05.

Yesterday's championship race appearance was the seventh for T&T in an Olympic Games men's 4x400m event. It was only the second time, though, a medal was bagged.

At the 1964 Games in Tokyo, Japan, Edwin Skinner, Kent Bernard, Edwin Roberts and Wendell Mottley earned bronze. Forty-eight years later, Skinner is here in London as a member of the T&T coaching staff.

"Mr Skinner," Solomon told the Express, "showed a few of us the (1964) bronze medal run when we were in Wales in the Cardiff camp. Just to see how happy they were and how hard they worked we wanted to come out and emulate that same thing. And we knew we had the team to bring home a bronze medal, if not a gold, so we came out here confident and ready to deliver."

Gordon ran three rounds in the individual 400m, culminating with bronze in the final in a personal best 44.52 seconds. He also competed in the qualifying round of the 4x4. The opening leg in yesterday's final was his fifth time round the Olympic Stadium track, but the 23-year-old athlete dug deep into his reserves to put his country in contention for precious metal.

Solomon continued the good work, and T&T were in the bronze medal position when he handed the baton to Alleyne-Forte. Obviously rusty in the qualifying round, Alleyne-Forte stepped up his game in the final, staying in third to set the stage for Lendore's anchorleg heroics.

"It was a much better effort than yesterday (Thursday)," said Alleyne-Forte. "I hadn't competed in a while, prior to yesterday. I told these guys after the race it was going to get better. It got better, and I'm pretty satisfied.

"Thank you T&T for all the support. We came out here to represent you all, and my honest hope is that we did it to our best."

Virtually unknown coming into the London Games, Gordon is now the proud owner of two Olympic bronze medals.

"Words can't explain; just a wonderful feeling. Thank God man, thank God.

"I felt I could have done a little better," he continued. "I didn't really feel the power getting out the blocks, but it was a good run."

Yesterday's bronze was the second global 4x4 success for T&T in 2012. On March 11, Gordon, Renny Quow, Jereem Richards and Solomon teamed up for bronze at the World Indoor Championships, in Istanbul, Turkey.

"Two or three years ago," said Lendore, "I would not have thought of being an Olympic bronze medallist. But during this year I had the thought. Seeing how my teammates all progressed greatly, I knew that we had a chance to do anything in this Olympic Games."

For Solomon, the podium finish had special significance. His father, Mike Solomon represented T&T with distinction, appearing in two Olympic 4x400m finals—1976 and 1980—as well as the individual 400m championship race in 1980. On each occasion, sixth spot was the senior Solomon's fate.

"I know he really wanted to medal," said Jarrin. "In '84 he was supposed to run, and he didn't get the chance to go to the Games, so this was very important to me, to go out there, give my best, and bring home a medal for the family. We've been to three Olympics already. I think it was due time to bring home a medal."

After spending more than a fortnight in cool, and sometimes cold London, Gordon is looking forward to some warmth.

"We coming home for doubles," he declared.

The hunger for precious metal already satisfied, the double Olympic bronze medallist is eager to celebrate not only with his teammates but with all of T&T.

By Kwame Laurence