Bahamas celebrate 50 years since first Olympic gold medal

Bahamas celebrate 50 years since first Olympic gold medal

10/27/2014 12:36:44 PM
By Gary Anderson

Bahamas has set its sights on further international success as it marks 50 years since sailors Sir Durward Knowles and Cecil Cooke claimed the country's first Olympic gold medal.

The success of Sir Durward and Cooke at Tokyo 1964 was the start of a period during which the Bahamas has won nine further medals.

The country is aiming to build on that success, according to Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) secretary general Romell Knowles.

The BOC is also celebrating its 62nd year in existence and is set to send athletes to a number of international events this year, including the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Nanjing Summer Youth Olympic Games and the Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico, in November.

"[We] are far from resting on our past success," said Knowles.

"Team Bahamas has won at least one Olympic medal in every single summer Olympic Games since Frank Rutherford's bronze medal triple jump in Barcelona, Spain, in 1992 and we fully intend to continue that trend."

The Bahamas has competed in every summer Olympic Games since its debut at Helsinki 1952, apart from when it participated in the boycott of the 1980 Games in Moscow.

Prior to winning gold in Tokyo, Sir Durward and Sloan Farrington had claimed the country's first Olympic medal at Melbourne in 1956, taking a bronze in sailing.

Since then, of the nine Olympic medals the Bahamas has won, four have been gold, all in athletics.

The women's 4x100 metre squad of Chandra Stirrup, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, Eldece Clarke-Lewis and Pauline Davis followed up their silver medal at Atlanta 1996 by taking gold at Sydney 2000.

Davis also secured the 200m title in Sydney after American Marion Jones was disqualified following revelations she had been taking banned performance-enhancing drugs at the time.

Tonique Williams-Darling triumphed in the women's 400m at Athens 2004, while Chris Brown, Demetrius Pender, Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller powered to gold in the men's 4x400m at London 2012.

The men's 4x400m team also won bronze and silver medals in Sydney and Beijing respectively, while Ferguson-McKenzie won 200m bronze at Athens 2004 with bronze also going to triple jumper Leevan Sands at Beijing 2008.

The country's strength in relays has been recognised with Nassau being chosen to host the first-ever International Association of Athletics Federations World Relays, a two-day event starting today.

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