Trinidad and Tobago had a bittersweet time in Rio today as track and field events and indoor cycling got underway at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Cycling sprint star Njisane “J-Boy” Phillip roared through the preliminary round but failed to match his 2012 accomplishment of a place in the semifinal while Cleopatra Borel’s tears of joy—after booking her place in the shot put final—was enough to either melt a heart of stone or freeze an ESPN interviewer.
Arguably, the saddest moment was delivered by United States shooter Kim Rhode, who used the occasion of her Olympic bronze finish—her sixth medal across as many tournaments—to plug controversial presidential candidate Donald Trump and gun advocacy.
“I’m definitely Trump! He’s very much for the Second Amendment,” said Rhode, who told reporters that her three-year-old son is already a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) youth programme.
Ahh… The Land of the Free. A country where you can’t spank your child but can teach him about AK-47s before he is old enough to read.
Cleopatra hopes to impart a more positive legacy, as the consistently awesome shot putter made her first Olympic final since 2004, after failing to advance past the preliminary round in 2008 and 2012.
Cleo was cheated out of her place in the final, four years ago, as two finalists were caught doping. But there was no stopping her this time, even though the final itself belonged to the excellent American Michelle Carter who upset New Zealand reigning champion Valerie Adams with a throw of 20.63 metres.
The Mayaro thrower and four time Olympian managed seventh with 18.37 and promptly called time on her field career.
“This is it, I’ve had a great career,” Borel told ESPN interviewer and former 400 metre hurdles legend Felix Sanchez. “Hopefully I’ve inspired others [in the Caribbean] to go for their dreams.”
Hell, hopefully she can inspire Felix too. On today’s evidence, the former effervescent hurdler has taken to television commentary like a fish to a gravel road.
Mr Live Wire is convinced that the only thing more awkward than seeing Felix the Cat try to cope with a tearful Cleopatra, is watching Joel Villafana try to squeeze a giggle out of Desha Rambhajan on the TV6 news.
In the women’s 100 metre sprint Michelle-Lee Ahye glided into the semifinal with a time of 11 seconds in her heat and will be joined by compatriot Semoy Hackett, although Kelly-Ann Baptiste was not so fortunate.
While, in the men’s 400 metre, young buck Machel Cedenio is still in the medal hunt—after a cool 44.98 in his heat—and has Lalonde Gordon for company in the semifinals, although Deon Lendore failed to force his way through.
It was a rough day for sailor boy Andrew Lewis too, as he suffered a disqualification which cost him a score today. Naturally, it doesn’t mean he won’t sail again on this aquatic answer to Tour de France, which has another three days to run.
But in 40th place from 46 participants, the Westmoorings Laser blazer no longer has a realistic shot at a medal.
There was another tear jerker in cycling as J-Boy failed to get into the quarterfinal round, despite two tries. In the end, as Germany’s Maximilian Levy and New Zealand’s Edward Darkins sprinted away into the distance, it was easy to assume that Njisane simply had nothing left in the tank—so much of his passion and drive arguably drained away in an emotional stop-start Rio campaign.
It was more a case of jerk than jerker for the United States women’s football team, as goalkeeper Hope Solo ripped into the Sweden team that eliminated them on penalty kicks.
“I don’t think they’re going to make it far in the tournament,” said Solo. “I think [their style of play] was very cowardly. But they won, they’re moving on and we’re going home.”
And if there is one person who knows about a ‘cowardly’ fight, it is probably the US goalie once charged for allegedly hitting her sister and 17-year-old nephew in a domestic violence incident, two years ago.
Hopefully, Trinidad and Tobago’s athletes will be the ones sharing licks tomorrow, as super heavyweight boxer Nigel Paul joins the fray along with men’s 100 metre sprinters Richard “Torpedo” Thompson, Rondel Sorrillo and Keston Bledman, who compete from 11am.
The women’s 100 metre semifinals and final and men’s 400 metre semifinals are also carded for tomorrow night.
Red, white and black in yuh pueffen! Make them tootoolbay, Torpedo!
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Sorrillo+RT+Bledman+Callendar is a formidable foursome.
they will look good in that 4×100 final.
Jamaica, Canada, US and maybe Britain and France in the mix too. We have a sniff though. Fingers crossed.
OK Kwame Laurence spoke to Sorrillo and Thompson:
Sorrillo: “Being in lane one by yourself, it’s harder to run fast, but it was a pretty good run. I didn’t feel like I eased up. I wasn’t sure where I was, and was scared to look over. I was pretty much trying to stay in the zone and in the moment. If I had looked I probably would have been able to gauge better and would have leaned.”
Thompson: “I gave a disappointing performance,” Thompson told the Sunday Express. “It’s been a very hard season for me. To be honest, early on this year I had a lot of injuries, but by Senior Champs I had found my legs. After Senior Champs, there’s maybe a two-week period that I had a hamstring injury and was unable to do any work on the track for about two weeks.
“But I don’t want to make that an excuse,” the three-time Olympic silver medallist continued, “because in reality, leading up to the Games I had some really good sessions. The times that I hit in some of the runs was an indicator that I was ready to come here and run well. Ato (Boldon) was excited about what he was seeing. I was excited about what I was seeing and feeling. Unfortunately, it didn’t come together today.”
Possibly.. Or cockiness.. He actually looked good.. A good off season and he could do well at Worlds next year..
Pray to God it wasn’t cockiness in his first Olympics. Lol
TTOC & NAAA need to be working hard on scouting for talent across the country and abroad. Our sprinters have aged legs so we need to retool. There are many talented citizens are playing football and cricket too. We have eligible track potentials abroad and who will eventually run for the UK, USA, Canada etc if not sourced.
We have to start developing our Secondary schools meets to be more competitive like Jamaica’s champs. Then track would get more widespread support.
Rondel is 31 or so. He isn’t sure if another Olympics. I thought he should have dipped at the line.
A lack of experience there maybe?
Sorry about typos
Guys.. The only way and the RIGHT way to criticise is to say they didn’t execute their race. Let’s be honest.. Richard, Keston and Rondell tried their best. Their performances reflected their season this far. How can we be surprised. I know for s fact a couple of them had injury problems.. They did their best.. I can have a go at Rondell for note during he qualified as he had it in his hands.. I’m sure he will learn.. I know these guys train hard.. We have a 4x100m coming let’s ensure they remain confident. Let’s make sure they feel our positive energy and support. Hey I’m gutted with performances but it’s sport and this happens sometimes
Where does the answer lie?
But those only just opened. Not sufficient time for them to train. 2020 here we come.
I agree with you Sherlan Cabralis that us why I have no problem with Michelle Lee Ahye …she did her best times ,but we have athletes coming no where close to their best performances and showing poor tactics. At this level thus is not acceptable , doing your best means just that .
forget the excused…
Looking at Njisane interview I have to wonder how badly he wanted to medal. I think he got burnt out before the Olympics started. He didn’t seem to have any thirst in him. I’m surprised he’s happy with his sprint time of 9.8 since the real test in the race is not when you racing against the clock but against a competitor.
..He told the ESPN interviewer that his preparation was “great”. I was surprised given his interview with Wired. I mean, you don’t wash linen in public but I was surprised..
Keith, I saw that too and he think he just wanted to keep his mind in a positive mindframe given that he was mid-tournament and had another race in an hour or so.
I think he wanted it badly Rose. But he had a rough four year spell. He wasn’t properly prepared and was playing catch up this year.
But Lasana the most surprising thing is 4 years ago he didn’t have anything and literally came out of nowhere and raced consistently better in the rounds to end up in 4th place in the whole world. He’s only 23 so it’s not like if he’s on the decline physically. So I’m thinking he just did not have the psychological support needed to make this happen. He had the talent…the speed. He just needed the focus. He faced down Fosterman and Bauge before. It was in him to move through. But after his first loss the light went out.
..Correct. He rode two bad races in my inexpert opinion. His mental focus didn’t appear to be turned on..
Keith I think that part of training has been lacking in this crop of athletes
..It is lacking in our people..
That isn’t true though Rose-Marie. We didn’t know about him four years ago. But he had spent about two years training with the US cycling team in LA and being coached by Canada national coach, Hartwell.
This time, he only got into a proper programme at the beginning of this year.
So he actually prepared better for London. We just didn’t know what he was doing.
Sounds like confusion to me! Trainings here, there, and every where. Clearly not good for elite athletes’ preparation for world class competition. TTOC, MOS, TTCF etc need to get their act together!
Boy the TTOC and sportt had 4 years to prepare Njisane. The boy came 4th..a medal was right there! Alas!
I listened to the German commentator during Kelly Ann Heat, as he clearly was considering her the favorite and kept talking about her prestart and after the finish all he said: Well, there is the first surprise, Baptiste only 4th in her heat.
I always ask myself ” what is the value of participation or winning from a athletes perceptive?” many times the athletes are very happy to represent TT and the opportunity to be at the Olympic . They may have accomplished what they set out to do, while the county except them to medal. I took note when Borel said that her goal was to make the finals. The hated ” Dick” and other athletes know that they are there to participate and have no chance of medalling. Maybe we need to review their goals and our expectations.
On Thompson…wha wrong with we Trinis boy. I was in a public place watching the race and when de race done all people talkin’ is Bolt walk it? Wth? Is CARICOM send a team or what? I looked around me and no one eh even seem bothered Thompson didn’t qualify. Steupsss
What’s sad about that? The Olympics has always had a political tinge to it and she used the opportunity to speak to the 2nd Amendment’s importance to her. We might not understand it but guns seem awfully important to many Americans
Wait… Where did these top Asian sprinters come from?!
Lol. Yeah. The man looked like he was in panic mode when Cleo started to tear up. I bet Shaka would have given her a hug. 🙂
Why didn’t Sorrillo dip?! Sigh.
that could be costly
Lalonde has his work cut out for him coming up against Kirani and Leshawn Merritt in the Semis.
Is it still top 2 qualify or do they pick the 8 best times?
Top 2 plus the 2 fastest losers
Dam. That means he have to run like a beast to get a timed qualifier. Both LA Shawn and Kirani looked like they were coasting.
I just want him to be as close as possible to those two
Elite athletes are very rarely injury free. Just the repetition of wear and tear of muscles leads to anything from little to big injuries. They all participate with some level of discomfort most times and hope to avoid big injuries.
if Bovell did win the Gold medal.. would he talk all that stupidness…come on trini…
are some of TT athlete performing under injury???????????
I’m always reluctant to rip into a sportsperson when the don’t perform as I used to be in that position. Many things could happen which could have contributed to these disappointing results. If we are honest none of our 100m men have done much to inspire confidence this season. It should not be a shock. Kelly Ann has been mediocre so I was just hopeful she could have pulled out a trick. Michelle surprised me s bit as when I saw her in London she ran really tight and had a poor drive phase for her 10.99 then.. I think she has a chance to medal if she relaxes and have a good first 40m. I think we should wait to hear from the athletes themselves to explain their performances. Let’s bite our tongue for a while.
Well said Kelvin Jack. Us couch potatoes don’t know the sacrifices these athletes make to just get to the Olympics. us hating on them not helping.
Keith I agree with you ,there needs to be some sort of investigation into the performances . We must remember that even though they may not get all they want they are the recipients of taxpayers money so when we see athletes slow down at the finish line and not qualify or make elementary technical or tactical errors we have to account and ensure non repetition.Some of the time we are seeing are surprising to say the least .
Watching Bledman and Sorrillo was painful. They looked like they “jus come”. And poor Richard.. maybe lining up next to Bolt threw him but I expected at least a 10.15 or something. As for the women only Michelle looking hungry. Kelly Ann ran like it’s her first Olympics. Machel has a focused hungry look too. So far these are the only 2 athletes who look like they in it to win it.
The performances of the men in the 100M were certainly disappointing.I thought Sorrillo undid a solid run by not dipping at the line while Bledman and Thompson were never really in contention in their races. But I’m still optimistic about our chances with Lalonde and Cedenio in the 400M.
Sorrillo never stood a chance man. You can’t expect men who not running sub par consistently to do anything in Olympics
I’m absolutely gutted by the performances…
..What is the TTOC goal? How many golds by when? Huh! Plenty wukk dey!..
Well, we still have Keshorn who can deliver with a personal best. And we do have shot with a sizzling finish in the 400 men and 100 women.
Our 4×100 men will need the run of their lives and perfect handovers.
don’t forget Jehue
..From the look of it we could forget the men if not the women..
Before the Games Keith, I asked a track official what our realistic medal hopes were. He said two. 4×100 women and 4×400 men.
Bear that in mind yes.
..The TTOC needs to launch an investigation into Trini’s POOR performance in these Games. Looks like if we win ONE medal we do good..
Richard better come second to Bolt. He did it before ?
Well boy I wondering about our stadium clock yes. Sagicor champs he ran sub 10. He couldn’t make even 10.15???
I’ve always had some suspicions about our clock lol. But I think Lasana Liburd cleared that up in a recent post.
All yuh see that clock thing at the stadium. That’s like beating a dead horse. TTOC & NAAA see nothing wrong with the clock. But if you look at the timings of our top four of the men’s 100M Nationals final, their times would have qualified them for the Rio Olympics semis.
Ent Kenneth! And that was less than 2 months ago. Anybody could have a bad race but all of them? Look Kim Collins get thru at 40!
..You see the build of the Chinese sprinters? They not the Chinese who selling noodles pal. Northern Chinese scouted from birth and moulded for the track (or pool). Sport as state policy..
I get Bahrain and Qatar who have clearly been shopping. But China and Japan have just gotten mighty fast! :-/
Correct on the Arabs. They offer citizenship and a new life. China is all done to science. Remember the new biological build of the footballers. All over 6 feet.
Training Lasana. The Chinese President is sports mad.. We are seeing the results..
..Programme development and Investment. Recruitment of foreigners too..
I am in Panama on my way to Rio so I hope I reach in time to stand at attention for our National Anthem and to escort the medals home. I am taking the liberty of giving love and support on behalf of the Wired 868 crew.
Hip hip…! 🙂
Luv ya Joan Layne.
That’s a good one! Poor Felix. My son watching the Cleo interview say mummy dat man heartless!
Thanks for the wrap up. This almost better than Chromatics carnival wrap (rap) yes?
Adore this commentary
Just keep sailing, just keep sailing…
Like a fish to a gravel road, Lasana? Oh gawsh boy! Yuh eh nice! At all! ???