By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture announced yesterday that the celebrations for Team Bahamas for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will take place next weekend.
In a press release issued from the office of Timothy Munnings, the director of sports, the ministry has revealed that in conjunction with the Bahamas Olympic Committee, Tommy Stubbs and Buttons Formal Wear has been charged with the organisation of Team Bahamas’ celebrations.
It’s scheduled for 3pm Sunday, September 18, at the Melia Beach Hotel, Cable Beach and was warmly welcomed by Leevan ‘Superman’ Sands, the athletes’ representative for the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations. “As you may be aware, Team Bahamas recently returned home with exceptional performances at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games highlighted by two (2) medals - gold by Shaunae Miller in the women’s 400 metres and bronze by the men’s 4 x 400m relay,” said the release.
“And, the first time in history for the Bahamas, we had finalists in the women’s hurdles in Pedrya Seymour and an athlete in women’s rowing in Emily Morley.”
The release further stated that Buttons Formal Wear, with its outstanding record in hosting top-notch productions, has planned a welcome home event befitting the marvelous accomplishments of our entire Olympic team, which represented the Bahamas extremely well in Rio de Janeiro.
Immediately following the event, the general public is invited to join us in a motorcade from Melia Nassau Beach Hotel through the streets of Nassau ending at the Fish Fry, Arawak Cay, where the athletes and the entire Bahamas Olympic team members will mix and mingle with the Bahamian public.
The celebrations for the entire team will take place almost a month after a celebration was held for Miller for winning the gold medal.
The ministry is encouraging all Bahamians to “attend the event and the motorcade” and to bring their “whistles, goat skin drums, horns and cowbells to participate in the motorcade “as we celebrate these stellar athletes.”
Sands, who competed in Rio in the men’s triple jump with Latario Collie-Minns, commended Buttons for taking the bold initiative in stepping forth and making it possible for them to finally celebrate as a team.
“Buttons came on board and they reached out to the athletes, so I feel good to know that a private company has stepped forward and is trying to do something for the whole team, versus just bringing home the medallists and the finalists,” Sands said.
The gesture, according to Sands, who competed in his third Olympics, signifies the gratitude to the athletes for the effort they made in competing in the games.
“It’s not easy competing at the Olympics,” said Sands of the biggest sporting event on the planet. “So I think everybody should be celebrated, not just the medallists and the finalists. Now that everything is coming together, everybody is excited.
“We will have most of the athletes home for the celebrations next weekend because we will get a chance to celebrate with the medallists and the finalists, the way it always should be. So I think it’s a good thing.”
No specific details were revealed about the celebrations. The release just indicated that more details would come leading up to the event on September 18.
The Bahamas finished tied for 51st place with Côte d’Ivoire and the Independent Olympic Athletes in the final medal standings that was dominated by the United States of America. The two medals captured placed the Bahamas in 12th place overall in athletics with the USA once again topping the list.
In addition to the two medals from Miller and the men’s 4 x 4 relay team of Alonzo Russell, Michael Mathieu, Steven Gardiner and Chris ‘Fireman’ Brown with Stephen Newbold competing in the heats, the Bahamas also saw Donald Thomas and Trevor Barry make the final in the men’s high jump, while Pedrya Seymour got into the women’sd 100m hurdles final.
The Bahamas also had three competitors in swimming with Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace falling short by one spot of getting into the final of the women’s 50m free, while Joanna Evans established a pair of national records in two of the three events she competed in. The other member of the team was Dustin Tynes.
Emily Morley made history by becoming the first Bahamian to compete in rowing in the women’s single sculls where she was sixth in the E Final.