Trinidad & Tobago is a small Caribbean country, but its sports talent is huge. Cricket is the most popular sport in the country and that is why Brian “Prince” Lara is described as a local legend; although this nation’s most outstanding results in international events have delivered by athletics. Who have been the best Trinitarian athletes of all time?
The best moment for one of Trinidad & Tobago’s collective sports was lived back in 2005, when the national soccer team qualified for FIFA World Cup, organized by Germany in 2006. Dwight Yorke was one of the main stars in that team and the most successful Trinitarian soccer player of all time.
He began his career with Aston Villa club, from the British Premier League, where he scored 97 goals in 231 games. He later took a quality jump by signing with Manchester United, which was managed by Sir Alex Fergusson.
During the time he spent playing with 4 clubs, Dwight Yorke conquered 9 titles, 6 with “The Red Devils”, including three leagues, one FA Cup and one Champions. Yorke wore Trinidad & Tobago’s uniform 72 times and scored 19 goals, won a Caribbean Cup in 1989, and was the captain of the team in the 2006 World Championship.
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BRIAN “PRINCE” LARA
Cricket is the most popular sport in Trinidad & Tobago and, among all players born in that country, Brian Lara has been the most acclaimed athlete, also called the “Prince of Port of Spain”. This great athlete, who is already retired, has been labeled as one of the finest batsmen of all time. He holds a record with the highest number of runs scored, both in Test and First Class game: 501, in 1994. Lara is one of the three cricket players that have been given the Foreign Figure of the Year award by BBC and, in 2012, he was included in the cricket Hall of Fame.
Ato Boldon is the Trinitarian athlete that has won the highest number of medals in Olympic Games, one of the most outstanding Caribbean sprinters in the 1990s, who was on the podium four times in two editions of these Games.
In Atlanta Games, back in 1996, he finished third in 100-200 meter dash. Four years later, in Sidney, he conquered the silver medal in 100 meter dash, only surpassed by U.S. Maurice Greene, and he repeated the bronze in 200 meter dash. As for IAAF World Championships, Boldon won the title in 200 meter dash, Athens 1997, and he was the runner-up in 100 meter dash in Gothenburg 1995 and Edmonton 2001. The Trinitarian athlete retired in 2005 and he still holds his country’s record in 200 meter dash, with 19.77 seconds.
Hasely Crawford was another great Trinitarian sprinter, who wrote his name in record books by becoming the first Caribbean athlete to be an Olympic champion in 100 meter dash. In Montreal Games, 1976, Crawford was the first man to cross the finish line, with 10.06 seconds, barely 0.02 seconds before Jamaican Donald Quarrie.
In that edition of the Olympic Games, he also qualified for the final of 200 meter dash, but he could not finish the race because of an injury. Crawford also competed in the Moscow Games, 1980, and Los Angeles, 1984, although he was far from his best results.
Crawford got three medals in the British Commonwealth Games: two bronzes in 100 meter dash, in 1970 and 1978, and one silver medal in 4×100 meter relay, in 1978. That very year, he was also given the highest distinction of the country, the Order of Trinidad & Tobago Republic, and a stadium was named after him. In 2000, he was chosen Best Athlete of the 20th Century in that nation.
This javelin thrower has made history. In 2012, he stood out as junior world champion, in Barcelona, and conquered the Olympic title some months later, during London Games, with 84.58 meters, thus becoming the first Caribbean javelin thrower to be on top of the podium in an Olympic edition.
This spectacular win turned him into a local hero and, when he returned to his country, the authorities declared a festive day for the Trinitarian people to celebrate with the champion. Both a lighthouse located in the northeast region of Trinidad and a high school in Toco (his hometown) were named after him.
Four years later, in Rio Olympic Games, Walcott finished third with 85.38 meters. Moreover, Walcott got the title in Toronto Pan-American Games, in 2015, and won the silver medal in the British Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014.
The “Torpedo” Thompson has been one of the best Caribbean sprinters of all time. His 9.82 seconds in 100 meter dash, clocked in Port of Spain 2014, is the ninth fastest mark in history. His curriculum includes an Olympic title in Beijing Games 2008, as a member of the 4×100 meter relay (second position), right behind Jamaica; but, years later, this team, including Usain Bolt, was disqualified because of Nesta Carter’s doping and, therefore, Thompson changed the color of his medal.
In that very Olympic edition, the Trinitarian athlete won the silver in 100 meter dash, where he was only left behind by Bolt. In London 2012, the Trinitarian relay team did it great again and Thompson was the closer of the team that finished second. In World Championships, the “Torpedo” collected a silver medal, in 4×100 relay, in Berlin 2009.
This weightlifter was the first athlete to conquer an Olympic medal for Trinidad & Tobago. His name made headlines when he won the Central American and Caribbean Games, in Barranquilla, 1946. In London Olympic Games, 1948, he won the silver medal by lifting 317.5 kilograms, only surpassed by Egyptian Mahmoud Fayad.
In the Helsinki Olympic Games, 1952, Wilkes was once again on the podium, in the third position. The Trinitarian athlete was strong enough to compete in his third Olympic Games, in Rome 1960, where he finished fourth. Furthermore, Wilkes was the champion in the first edition of Pan-American Games, hosted by Buenos Aires in 1951, and got the title in the British Commonwealth Games, in 1954. Wilkes died of prostate cancer at a San Fernando hospital in 2014, aged 89.
Bovell can be described as the best Caribbean swimmer of all time. He holds a bronze medal in 200 meters combined, in Athens Olympic Games 2004, as well as two world medals, one in the short event (Istanbul, 2012, bronze in 100 meters combined) and another one in the normal event (Barcelona, 2013, bronze in 50 meters free style). Moreover, Bovell has obtained six medals in Pan-American Games, 2003-2015: 2 gold medals (both in Santo Domingo, 2003), 2 silvers and 2 bronze medals. His curriculum also includes 8 medals in Central American and Caribbean Games (3 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze medals).
Although this runner has been marked by doping, she can be considered one of the best athletes of her country. In IAAF World Championships, she has obtained two medals: bronze in Daegu 2011, in 100 meter dash, and bronze in Beijing 2015, as a member of her country’s short relay team. She participated in London Olympic Games, 2012, but she didn’t make it to the final in 100 meter dash. This year, she competed in the World Championship hosted by the British capital, where she finished eighth in 100 meter dash.
Gordon has obtained very good results in 400 meter dash and as a member of his country’s 4×400 relay team. As for Olympic Games, Gordon has won two bronze medals, both in London 2012, and he conquered the title in London 2017, 4×400 relay. His career also includes a silver medal, in Beijing 2015. He has conquered two medals in indoor World Championships: bronze in long relay in 2012 and 2016.