WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11: You only had to watch the heptathletes finish their final event — a brutal 1,500 metres — to see what taking part in the Carifta Games and representing your country means.
After running themselves to a standstill for two days of intense competition the boys collapsed to the ground in domino fashion — exhausted and utterly spent.
It was not the only time during the games that the EMTs were called into action as young competitors pushed themselves to the very brink of their endurance.
The 2012 Carifta Games saw its fair share of thrills and spills on and off the track.
From moody sprinters dropping relay batons to fresh-faced youngsters breaking national records, the Bermuda games had something for everyone.
There were the record breakers like javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago. The young athlete launched the javelin further than it had ever been thrown in the CARIFTA Games on no less than two occasions during the competition.
Watching the first spear sail across the turf of the National Stadium and over some the watching judges was a spectacle few who witnessed it will forget in a hurry.
There were the heart breakers like Bermudian 400-metre hurdler Jermiah Steede.
The 15-year-old CedarBridge student picked himself up off the track after collapsing with a hamstring injury, but bravely limped on to complete the race.
He finished in last place, more than 40 seconds behind the winner, but he also received the biggest cheer of the night as he battled down the final straight.
As Steede was helped from the track a St John’s Ambulance crewman remarked: “If there were medals for sheer courage, he’d get gold.”
While the battle for medals in track and field raged in the middle, the fight for vocal supremacy in the packed grandstands between the fans was equally fierce.
The Bahamian Junkanoo band blared out its unique brand of drum and bell beats sending their followers into a dancing frenzy.
Bandleader Derrick Brown said: “Whenever we play, it’s sure to give all of our athletes a lift when they hear it. It’s a rhythm thing as well as helping lift their spirits.”
While the flag waving Jamaicans were given plenty to shout about as their team topped the medal table with a staggering 78 medals, including 38 golds.
A patriotic and raucous home crowd added a uniquely Bermudian feel to the whole event.
And for three days the National Stadium in Devonshire was drenched in glorious Caribbean colour to witness the Olympians of tomorrow begin to realize their dreams.