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BITTER-SWEET T&T officially upgraded to Olympic 4x1 silver

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It's official! The 2012 Olympic Games men's 4x100 metres silver medal goes to Trinidad and Tobago.

"This is bitter-sweet," anchorman Richard "Torpedo" Thompson told the Express, yesterday. "We live for a moment and not necessarily a monetary award. We work hard to cross the line, hold up the national flag, stand on the podium and be happy in that moment we worked so hard for. We were deprived of that opportunity."

Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Thompson have been upgraded from bronze to silver because of American Tyson Gay's doping infraction.

Gay was handed a one-year ban after testing positive for an anabolic steroid in 2013. His results, starting from July 15, 2012, were annulled. Gay was part of the United States team that finished second to Jamaica in the Olympic 4x100m final on August 11.

Seven weeks ago, the IOC stripped the Americans of the silver medal, clearing the way for the T&T upgrade.

"If the system was 100 per cent efficient," said Thompson, "Gay would have gotten a two-year ban, and Justin Gatlin would not be running anymore. There are flaws in the system, and Gay should not have been rewarded for cooperating. He should do that anyway. Gatlin failed two tests, and should have been banned for life."

The upgrade to Olympic silver is T&T's second. Thompson was the fourth sprinter past the finish line in the 2012 Olympic final. However, third-placed Canada were disqualified for a lane violation, and bronze was awarded to the T&T quartet in 38.12 seconds.

At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, the same T&T sprint relay quartet earned silver.

"Crossing the line second in Beijing was far more significant than the weird series of events that played out in London. It's not necessarily the way you want to win a medal, but we're thankful. Hopefully, next time we'll win gold on the track. That's what we're shooting for at the Rio Games next year."

In a press release, yesterday, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president, Brian Lewis said his organisation "received official confirmation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the London 2012 men's 4x100 sprint relay team will be reallocated the silver medal.

"The TTOC," the release continued, "is required to return the bronze medals, diplomas and pins by 18th July 2015. The TTOC will work with the athletes to ensure the IOC deadline is met."

France originally finished fifth in the final, but can now boast of bronze.

T&T's London 2012 medal haul has improved to one gold, one silver and two bronze medals—the country's best ever Olympic showing. And "Torpedo" Thompson is now a triple Olympic silver medallist.

"That rolls off the tongue a little better. It's something I'm proud of. I've worked hard for moments like that, and making four Olympic finals is big for me as well. But I want more. When I stepped onto the world stage in 2008, Ato Boldon was the benchmark for me. He has four individual Olympic medals. I want to emulate some of what Ato achieved individually."

Thompson has been struggling with a knee injury this season, and has called off his 2015 campaign. Last Saturday, he reached the NGC-Sagicor National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) Open Track and Field Championship men's 100m final, but opted out of the championship race.

"Calling off 2015 and missing Worlds was a hard decision. Coming into Senior Champs, I was doing everything possible to try to get back to 100 per cent, but I had no work on the track for close to two months. No excuses, but my fitness was not there.

"These things happen in sport, and sometimes setbacks are blessings in disguise. I had to take a smart and mature decision pushing towards Rio 2016. I didn't want to jeopardise my ability to make a significant contribution to the country at the Olympics."



ESPN Caribbean brings exclusive Pan Am coverage

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ESPN Caribbean begins its region wide coverage of the 2015 Pan American Games on July 10 at 7:30 pm ET with live coverage of the Opening Ceremony.

The event runs July 10 to 26 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Approximately 7,000 athletes from 41 countries will take part in 36 different sports competitions.

ESPN Caribbean’s agreement, in alliance with the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC), includes English-language rights throughout the islands and on cruise ships sailing in the region.

“Our coverage of the Pan Am Games is an integral part of ESPN’s lead-up programming to Rio 2016,” said Tim Bunnell, senior vice-president of production, programming, marketing and ad sales.

“We know how important this event is to Caribbean fans and we will deliver a world-class production for our viewers. CANOC and ESPN will continue to bring locally relevant and prestigious sports content to the Caribbean region.”

“CANOC is proud of our continued association with ESPN and our role in the multi-platform distribution of the 2015 Pan AM Games in Toronto,” said Bernard Stewart, director and head of CANOC Broadcasting (CBI).

“Our combined effort to deliver to sports fans globally recognised events like the Pan Am games demonstrates our commitment to deliver unprecedented coverage of the journey of Caribbean athletes to showcase their talent in the Rio 2016 Olympics.”

ESPN will provide Caribbean fans with over 65 hours of event coverage on the ESPN Caribbean television network, along with more than 600 hours of live content streamed on ESPN Play, ESPN’s broadband platform. ESPN Play will also be complimentary to pay television subscribers from July 18 to 21.

ESPN’s live, English-language coverage of the Opening Ceremony is the first by a broadcaster in 30 years.

ESPN’s studio will be set in the heart of Toronto with the city’s emblematic skyscrapers as background. Coverage of the 17-day event will focus on track and field, diving, gymnastics, volleyball, women’s and men’s basketball, swimming, boxing and soccer.

Other exclusive ESPN Caribbean coverage includes updates with Shaka Hislop and Alexis Nunes and live, on-location event-related happenings with field reporter Toni Collins.

ESPN Caribbean’s social media channels will supplement the multimedia coverage, engaging fans with the latest news around the Games using the hashtag #PanAmXESPN.




Silver confirmed for TT 4x100 relay men

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After seven weeks of uncertainty, Trinidad and Tobago’s 2012 Olympic Men’s 4x100m relay team received confirmation yesterday that they will be upgraded from bronze to silver, according to official information relayed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

In a short statement issued by Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president, Brian Lewis, yesterday, he stated that authorised confirmation was relayed to him by the IOC affirming the reallocation of medals to the National 4x100m team.

The local quartet receiving this Olympic upgrade comprises of newly crowned National Men’s 100m champion Keston Bledman, national record holder Richard ‘Torpedo’ Thompson, Emmanuel Callender and Marc Burns.

“We have received official confirmation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and they have clearly communicated with us that we have a deadline that they would like us to meet which is July 18 to return the bronze medals, diplomas and pins,” explained the TTOC boss.

On May 13, it was revealed that the United States team which initially won silver behind Jamaica, were to be retrospectively disqualified following the one year suspension of team member Tyson Gay after he tested positive for anabolic steroids in 2013.

Jamaica finished ahead of the US in a world record time of 36.84 seconds to take gold in the Olympic Stadium, while team TT earned bronze in 38.12s to finish ahead of fourth-placed France. France are expected to be upgraded to bronze medal position.

“I have already written a letter to communicate this (deadline) with the athletes in question, and we will work with the athletes to ensure that we can meet that deadline so that the reallocation process can progress in accord with the IOC’s timeline.

I’m comfortable and happy that the timeline has a particular date because it brings certainty to the process,” added the former Harvard rugby player. Upon meeting the deadline, Lewis assured that he will be in frequent contact with the IOC with regards to them sending out the silver medals to TT.

When they are received, the TTOC is expected to arrange an appropriate presentation of the silver medals from London 2012 to the talented relay squad. Even though pleased with the IOC and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) due process, Lewis was a bit critical of the length of time it took to resolve this matter.

He however, remains committed to voicing his idea to officials for a speedier process in settling issues of this magnitude. “The process has taken a bit long,” Lewis stated.

“As I have always said, the IOC has their process but I have articulated a perspective that it is still a bit too protracted and unfair on the clean athletes.”




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Port of Spain, July 3rd 2015 – On Friday 3rd July, the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) and the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) revealed a landmark joint venture with the launch of “Going for Gold”, a brand new game which will raise funds for Trinidad and Tobago’s potential Olympians.


The NLCB has long supported sports development in Trinidad and Tobago, and the Going for Gold game is an important representation of the country’s sponsorship of the TTOC and its #1GOLDs24 initiative. #10Golds24 aims to cultivate a system of excellence necessary for the advancement of T&T’s local Olympic talent. The NLCB and TTOC anticipate that the Going for Gold game, which was designed by GTECH, will be instrumental in raising public awareness and stimulating further national support of the athlete’s cause.


“Today marks another huge and transformative step”, exclaimed TTOC President, Brian Lewis.


“Let me further add that we have also agreed with the NLCB that our partnership will include advertising and promotional support, internships for our athletes, training, education and ongoing professional and life-skill capacity building support and opportunities”, he concluded.


Launched in December 2014, the #10Golds24 programme aspires to make the dream of the country achieving 10 Olympic gold medals by the year 2024 a reality. The athlete welfare and preparation fund provides financial assistance to the nation’s promising sports men and women. It also provides them with the developmental tools critical to fostering a Champion mindset. The NLCB and TTOC anticipate that the Going for Gold game will be instrumental in raising awareness and stimulating further national support of the athletes’ cause.


Camille Forde, director of the NLCB, was enthusiastic about the game’s potential to augment the impact of #10Golds24. “It is our hope that the interactive element of Going for Gold will stimulate renewed interest and care for Trinidad and Tobago’s athletes,” she said. “The NLCB is passionate about supporting the achievement of our talented young people, and Going for Gold can play a significant role in helping our game-buyers feel invested in our Olympic dream.”


The NLCB looks forward to its continued partnership with the TTOC, and is confident that funds raised from the Going for Gold initiative will make a notable difference in the lives of T&T’s budding Olympic Champions.


IOC confirms silver medal reallocation

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The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee received official confirmation from the International Olympic Committee that the London 2012 men's 4 X 100 sprint relay team will be reallocated the silver medal.

The TTOC is required to return the bronze medals,diplomas and pins by 18th July 2015.

The TTOC will work with the athletes to ensure the IOC deadline is met.


Brian Lewis