By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
AFTER helping his 4 x 400 metres relay team-mates get on top of the podium at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, quarter-miler Ramon Miller is hoping to come back for an encore as they prepare for another title or medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan next July.
Miller, a graduate of Dickenson State University and now in his second year as a member of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, anchored the quartet of Chris ‘Fireman’ Brown, Demetrius Pinder and Michael Mathieu to the stunning gold over the United States and Trinidad & Tobago as they brought the curtain down on the world’s biggest sporting stage in a Bahamian national record time of two minutes and 56.72 seconds.
Miller missed the trip four years later in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil when the combo of Alonzo Russell, Mathieu, Steven Gardiner and Brown had to settle for the bronze as the USA turned the tables to regain the gold, while Jamaica picked up the silver.
But four years prior to ascending the top of the podium in London, Miller and Avard Moncur ran in the semifinals of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China where the team of Andretti Bain, Mattieu, Andrae Williams and Brown secured the silver behind gold medal winning United States and ahead of Great Britain, the bronze medalists.
With this year’s games postponed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 33-year-old Miller said it’s given him the inspiration to get himself ready with the challenge of joggling his job chasing criminals to maintain his quest for his prominence on the international stage as a professional athlete.
“I have to thank God for allowing me to do it, despite all that is going on,” said Miller, about the pandemic that has put a damper on sports worldwide. “I’m still able to keep my composure and remain calm and train as best as possible.
“With the role I play in my line of work and training, I really have to balance it out. But fortunately for me, I have set up an environment where I really don’t have to go out of my home to get some type of training in, but it’s hard due to all the stipulations and regulations imposed by Covid-19.”
The graduate of Dickinson State University where he was supposed to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend, but was cancelled until next year (due to the pandemic), was referring to the fact that while he’s confined to home here in the Bahamas, he will eventually need to venture outside of the country to get in some quality competition to ensure that he stays on the competitive edge.
With the performance of the Golden Knights still in the minds of many Bahamians as they reflect on the historic achievements by our athletes on the global stage, Miller said a lot of their accomplishments to due to the road paved by previous relay team members like Brown, Timothy Munnings, Carl Oliver, Troy McIntosh and Dennis Darling, who set the standard when they began the trek that has made the Bahamas a force to reckon with at the four-yearly games.
“They were persistent and they really gave me the momentum to try and make the Bahamas proud,” Miller stressed. “That is what we did in 2012. For me, training right here at home was a great achievement.
“It might have been a bit harder for me than the other guys, but I was able to put it together and went out there and helped my team bring home the gold for the Bahamas.”
At the time, Miller was self-trained, but he relied on the Bahamas’ natural resources like the sand at Goodman's Bay, the Queen's Staircase, better known as the 66-steps, and both the Sydney Poitier and the Paradise Island bridges to help get him over the hump.
“My family came out and tried to time me every now and again, or I had one or two of the local coaches who critiqued what I was doing, but for the most part, I did it here all by myself,” he stated. “I thank God for blessing me with the ability to get the job done.”
Now struck by the pandemic that has seen Prime Minister Hubert Minnis imposing curfews and lockdowns that have prevented local athletes from training with the beaches and parks periodically closed, Miller said he’s still working hard to complete his final rodeo.
“I want to make my country proud one more time, so this is going to be my last chance to win another medal for the Bahamas at the Olympics next year,” Miller revealed. “Due to Covid-19, everything has been either delayed, postponed or cancelled.
“I have a background of adjusting, so I just have to adjust to what’s going on. I have to adjust while I go to work and when I’m training. I was able to set up an environment at home where I live. I wasn’t thinking about the pandemic, but it’s benefiting me in the long run.”
Miller, who has posted a lifetime best of 20.50 seconds in the 200m and 44.87 in the 400m, said training for the Olympics isn’t a small feat, but he’s committed to get the job done just as he’s dedicated to serving in his role as police officer.
“I understand all of the safety measures and protocols that the government has put in place, which is key,” Miller summed up. “There’s nothing you can do right now, but to adjust, but I have an environment here at home that is helping me to get through this pandemic.”
And if it all works out, Miller said he would like nothing better than to be able to get back to the glory days of 2012 when the Bahamas shone on top of the podium and heard the national anthem played as they received their gold medal.
“We now have guys like Steven Newbold, Stephen Newbold, Ojay Ferguson in the pool now, so our chances have gone up,” he insisted. “2012 will be a year that I won’t forget, but it has been the driving force for me coming back for my last rodeo next year.”
And hopefully that will be the impetus for Miller and the rest of the male athletes like Brown, who is also preparing for his last dance, to give it one more shot at getting the Bahamas back on the podium, preferably with the gold.
While the return trip to the Olympics will complete his tenure as an athlete, Miller said he’s even more enthused about heading back to DSU where his induction into the Hall of Fame on October 9 has been postponed until October, 2021.
After graduating from CR Walker Secondary High, Miller spent four years at Dickenson State University from 2006-2010 where he was labeled as a legend as he emerged as the most decorated athlete in NAIA track and field history. He won multiple national titles in the 200 and 400m and was the NAIA national record holder in the 400m.
Miller also won numerous collegiate titles in the 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relays. He was a 12-time national champion at Dickinson State and was named the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) most outstanding track and field athlete in 2009.
Miller, who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in exercise physiology and coaching, is the first athlete from DSU in Dickinson, North Dakota, to receive the Golden Hawk Award, a prestigious award from the school presented to someone who excels beyond the doors of Dickinson State, and one that is presented by the DSU Heritage Foundation.