The Bahamas' men's 4x400-metre relay team of Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller pose with their gold medals during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. (AP)
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
Just as he did after the success of the “Golden Girls” – the women’s 4 x 100 metre relay team that won gold at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia – Canadian fashion designer Peter Nygard did it again - this time for the “Golden Knights” – the men’s 4 x 400 relay team that clinched the victory over the US at the 2012 London Olympics.
In similar fashion in 2000, Nygard opened another trust fund in the amount of $100,000 to support local sports.
The announcement came on Sunday at Nygard’s unique home in Lyford Cay where he also presented “Golden Knights” team members Chris “Fireman” Brown, Michael Mathieu and Ramon “Fearless” Miller with personal cheques of $10,000 each. The other member of the team, Demetrius Pinder, was unable to attend the ceremony but Nygard said his cheque will be forwarded to him.
The three “Golden Knights” also took part in a Junkanoo rush-out on Sunday.
“My contributions have always been individually,” said Nygard, who has assisted a number of local boxers and volleyball players in addition to the various Family Island regattas.
“I want to make sure that the money goes directly to the people. That is why I don’t really support the big institutions. So I’ve been looking after the people and that is why I get such a tremendous amount of satisfaction to make money and then to be able to share it with the athletes.”
Nygard, who showed a video taping of his experience in London and a recap of the relay team’s thrilling victory over the United States, said he is proud to make the investment in the future of Bahamian sports once again by opening up the fund for the “Golden Knights.”
He added that just as he was pleased to have been afforded the opportunity to attend the Olympics to watch the “Golden Girls” gold medal performances, he was just as thrilled to do the same with the “Golden Knights.”
“The Golden Girls was my first one, so it was a thrill. But to have a repeat performance like that with the ‘Golden Knights’ is just as special,” said Nygard, when asked which performance was better for him to watch. “So you can’t really choose one over the other because they both achieved the same thing.”
And he said the $10,000 he presented to each member of the “Golden Knights” was just his appreciation to the personal commitment that he made to “Golden Girls” Eldece Clarke, Chandra Sturrup, Savetheda Fynes, Pauline Davis-Thompson and Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie in 2000.
Bahamas Olympic Committee president Wellington Miller, who took Nygard around in London as his special guest, said his contribution to the athletes is monumental.
“I don’t think any other private citizen has done what he has done,” Miller said. “He gave $40,000 to them. It just shows that if you do well, you can be rewarded.”
In response, Ramon Miller said what they did as a team was huge because the Bahamas was the first country to beat the United States in 40 years.
“So what he did was a small donation. He’s not even from here, but he showed us how much he appreciated it,” said Miller, the team’s anchor man. “He just showed us that he wants to make it better, not just for us, but for the younger athletes. So we are pleased with what he did for us today. This will only help us with our training.”
Miller, who fell short of getting into the final of the men’s 400 at the Olympics, said he’s still on a break, but very soon he will start his training between here and Orlando for the 2013 World Championships in Russia.
Mathieu, the Grand Bahamian native who ran the third leg on the relay team, said the contribution could not have come at a good time because it will help him as he moves forward in his career.
“I won’t start training again until next month when I start to get ready for next year,” said Mathieu, who false started in the opening heats of the men’s 200 metres and wasn’t able to compete in an individual race at the Olympics.
Brown, who moved up from anchor to the “pop-off’ or first leg on the relay team, said Nygard’s contribution was a big boost to him and his team-mates. At the same time, he said it will also boost the younger athletes coming up behind them.
“It shows that hard work does pay off,” he said. “Also, it shows that we as a country is stepping up to become a power nation in sports in the world. Our volleyball team won their championships and so it shows that all of the young men are not sitting idly by not doing anything positive. We’re just glad that someone like Nygard has recognised our accomplishment.”