The untimely death of Olympian Deon Lendore in a horrific car crash in Houston, Texas, has robbed this country of one of its brightest track and field stars.

Notably, he is being remembered not only for his athletic achievements -he was a bronze medalist (4x400m) in the 2012 London Olympics and a 2015 World championship silver medalist (4x400m) - but as a remarkable human being and true T&T patriot.

Among the countless tributes that had been pouring in, one that sums up the young sports hero’s remarkable legacy came from the T&T Olympic Committee who described him as “an inspiration and motivation to us all both on and off the track.”

Heartwarming stories have been shared about his positive interactions with fellow athletes behind the scenes at sporting events, his expressions of genuine support and encouragement even during times of intense competition.

So, it is not surprising that Deon Lendore’s loss is being felt keenly, not only by his immediate family but by his extensive circle of loved ones, friends, and colleagues in his hometown of Arima, his Abilene Wild Cats club mates, school and university colleagues at Queen’s Royal College and Texas A&M, and many others with whom he interacted.

Just 29 years old, he represented this country at three Olympic Games – London 2012, Rio de Janeiro 2016, and the Tokyo Games last year.

He made his Olympic debut in London, joining fellow Team TTO sprinters Jarrin Solomon, Ade Alleyne-Forte and Lalonde Gordon to capture bronze in a time of 2:59.40. He also earned three bronze medals at the World Indoor Championships. In 2016 in Portland, United States, Lendore placed third in the men’s 400m and 4x400m events.

In 2018, he missed out on a medal at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, placing fourth but one year later, was also part of the historic 4x400 men who won gold at the World Relays in Yokohama, Japan in 3:00.81.

He was also a 4×400m bronze medalist at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru in 2019.

Born October 28, 1992, Deon Lendore was the pride of his community, Mt Pleasant, Arima, and attended Arima Boys Government before moving on to QRC, then Texas A&M University in the US where he was a business major.

At the time of his death, he was serving at Texas A&M as a volunteer assistant coach. Reports are that he was on his way home from practice at the time of the crash.

According to many in the sporting fraternity, the Olympian was poised for greater things, aiming to bring more sporting glory to T&T in this year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England and the World Championships in Oregon in the US.

At age 29, the expectation was that there were many more accomplishments ahead on the track, as well in various other spheres of endeavour.

Today, a nation mourns this beloved son whose athletic achievements brought us many moments of joy and celebration for which he was honoured with a national award, Hummingbird Gold.

We have lost a true champion.