Barbados is a sovereign nation for the past 33 years. We know of Barbados in sports through the exploits of the likes of Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Clyde Walcott and others during the 60s, 70s and 80s.
This year, however, has been a golden one for sports in our island. While cricket dominance continues to elude us, our footballers, basketballers and volleyballers in particular, have lifted the national spirit through the success of their regional and international exploits.
Saturday September 23rd 5:20 a.m., Barbados welcomed Obadele Thompson to the realm of truly great international sporting heroes. He placed third in the 100 metres dash at the 27th staging of the Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
To quote the Barbados Nation:
"Not since Jim Wedderburn shared the glory of a bronze Caribbean triumph in the 4 x 400 relay in Rome in 1962, has a Barbadian had the honour of having an Olympic medal strung around the neck. That was 40 years ago and six years before Barbados became a sovereign nation.
Thompson’s success therefore has multiple significance to our people and country. Some of these dimensions speak to our nationhood, our size, our poverty and our limitations. They also speak of discipline, resourcefulness, purpose, pride and determination."
"He is a young man of impeccable character, great talent and yet tremendous modesty in a field where traditionally the best are the braggarts."
"It is also our first Olympic statement as an independent country – our loyal sons and daughters all, do hereby make it known – we are indeed ready to take our rightful place among the most prominent nations in the premier world sports event."
"It is a powerful message to the youth of this country that it is possible to achieve international greatness – as firm craftsmen of our fate. As Oba himself said in a post-race interview, there is untold value in this victory as a message to future generations of Barbadians that others of us can plant our feet on history’s page, with expectations great."
Congratulations to Obadele Thompson!