Tyrone Smith *AFP photo
Tyrone Smith *AFP photo


With the 2012 London Olympics running towards its end, I’ve been thinking about our Bermudian athletes who’ve been competing in that world arena. For years, sometimes in the limelight, but most of the time out of the limelight, in all those small hours when all the rest of us were chillin’, they were training, training, training; preparing themselves for the day when they stepped onto the world stage and pitted themselves against all the rest of the world’s best.

Our Bermudian athletes come out of a gene and population pool that worldwide, probably amounts to no more than 65,000 people who can claim to be Bermudian. In and on Bermuda, there are barely 50,000 of us. Yet we have produced Bermudian men and women who have gone onto the world stage and shone like the stars that they are.

Up against the Chinese who can select from 1.3bn and the rich and mighty USA who select from 300m, there’s us lot, selecting from no more than 65,000 – worldwide. Or 50,000 on the Island.

Our athletes have done well. Against all the best that the rest of the world can muster, here is what our Bermudian athletes have achieved:

• Swimmer Roy-Allan Burch won his eight swimmer heat;

• The sailing team of the Kirkland brothers placed 2nd in their best race;

• Long jumper Tyrone Smith jumped a medal probable 8.02m;

• Triathlete Flora Duffy was in 23rd position when she tumbled off her bike – and still she got up, made up distance and time, and placed well;

• Equestrian Jillian Terceira kept her seat through all the jumps and just missed the final cut;

• Triathlete Tyler Butterfield yesterday finished a very respectable 34th out of 55;

• Ignoring the 60m population pool in the UK, team selectors for the UK women’s basketball team picked our Jenaya Wade-Fray;

• Long jumper Arantxa King yesterday finished 13th, narrowly missing the cut to join the top 12 finalists.

So out of an Island population pool of 50,000 and a possible world pool of 65,000; Bermuda has produced nine world-class athletes for this 2012 London Olympics.

And remember, we do have a Bronze from the 1976 Olympics.

I think that all our Olympians are good. I know that they have worked hard — very hard — to do and achieve what they have achieved. They have shown all the rest of us that they are superb athletes and good men and women. They have displayed superior discipline and strong dedication to a task.

With all my professional soldiering background, I appreciate, deeply appreciate, the long years of deep self-discipline that they have shown, and the many personal sacrifices that they have made.

So Zander, Jesse, Tyrone, Roy-Allan, Flora, Jillian, Jenaya, Arantxa, and Tyler — I salute you. From 3,500 miles away, you may not have heard me, but I’ve been cheering for you.

Go! Go! Go!