By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
LONDON, England — They took one more trip out in front of the cheering crowd at the Olympic Stadium. This time, on Saturday night, the Bahamas men’s 4 x 400 metre relay team members proudly came out to collect their gold medals after upsetting the United States in one of the biggest showdowns in track and field over the years.
Champions of the 2012 Olympic Games, Chris ‘Fireman’ Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon ‘Fearless’ Miller combined to secure the only medal for the Bahamas and got the national flag to be raised while the national anthem was played during the medal presentation with the US and bronze medallist Trinidad & Tobago standing at attention and applauding them for their efforts.
The quartet hung the heavy hardware around their necks after the brief ceremony before they were escorted back to the Games Village.
“It’s sweet. Who wouldn’t feel sweet with a gold medal,” said Miller, who stormed from behind in the final 100 metres on the anchor leg to pass and leave American Angelo Taylor behind. “We worked hard all year and this is the outcome of it. I want to thank God and hopefully more will come.”
For Pinder, it was a bittersweet moment for him to reflect on.
“Just putting the medal around my neck, all I could do is remember my sister,” said Pinder, who ran an exceptional second leg to give the Bahamas a sizable lead. “It’s a blessing to come out here and get gold, so I’m very proud.”
Pinder’s sister, Claudia, passed away and was buried while he was in London preparing to run both the 400 and the 4 x 4 relay. He got into the 400 final with Brown, but finished seventh. But he said the victory in the relay more than made up for his disappointment and grief that he felt all during his stay in the Games Village.
Having had the most difficult leg to run on third with the huge challenge from American Tony McQuay, Mathieu said he’s speechless.
“We won the gold. It was sweet,” he said. “I’m really glad that we did it.”
Brown, the senior man on the team, said he gave it all to God because it was his strength that enabled him to help the Bahamas to win a bronze and silver, but now the country can be proud of the boys because they have struck big with the gold.
“It’s history. It feels good and I just want to thank the Lord,” he said. “It’s amazing. It’s been a long journey and dreams do come true. I’ve been at it for a while and a lot of people would have given up by now, but it just shows that with patience and faith, anything is possible. I think the Bahamian fans, but we had to do this one for Leevan, who would have definitely won a medal if he didn’t get hurt and to Demetrius for what he had to go through with the loss of his sister.”
Brown said they represented the country very well but want their status to be changed from the “Silver Knights” to “Golden Boys” or anything that goes with gold.
Their performance left the Bahamas tied for 50th with Algeria, Grenada and Venezuela out of a field of about 202 countries that participated
in the biggest sporting event on the planet. Now they are scheduled to return home today when they are expected to be treated to a “welcome home” reception 6pm tonight at the Lynden Pindling International Airport.