Caribbean Nations Celebrate Olympic Medal Winners
Photo via Flickr/Gabriel Seisdedos
The United States dominated the overall medal count, but athletes from Caribbean nations authored a memorable array of winning exploits throughout the recently completed Olympic Games in Rio. Several regional hoteliers and tourism organizations are honoring their excellence and the spotlight their distinguished performances have placed on their home countries.
The podium performers ranged from superstar Usain Bolt of Jamaica, who became the first man to win the men’s individual 100-meter and 200-meter sprint race in three straight Olympics, to Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott, whose bronze medal in the men’s javelin made him the first Caribbean athlete to win back-to-back Olympic medals in the discipline.
Jamaicans Elaine Thompson and Omar McLeod also won gold medals in the women’s sprint hurdles and the men’s 110 meter hurdles while the Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller became the second woman from the country to win a gold medal in the women’s 400 meter race.
In all, the Caribbean region won 28 medals, with Cuba and Jamaica tying for 11 each. The Bahamas collected two medals while Dominican Republic, Grenada, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago each won one.
Caribbean tourism stakeholders have lauded the athletes’ efforts, which they say reflect favorably on the destinations they represent. “For those of us who provide hospitality of our region to our many visitors, it is a special joy to witness your successes because you are ambassadors for the Caribbean,” said Karolin Troubetzkoy, president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association and executive director of St. Lucia's Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain resorts.
“With your world-class prowess and memorable personalities, you are proving to the world that our pristine water, land, air and nourishing communities produce outstanding champions."
Troubetzkoy provided a complimentary weekend stay at Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain to St. Lucian Levern Spencer, who made the women's high jump finals, and the other members of St. Lucia's Olympic team. Troubetzkoy has also focused attention on medal-winning athletes of Caribbean descent, which include one of the Olympics’ biggest stars, U.S. gymnast Simone Biles, who is of Belizean descent.
Indeed, Biles recently accepted a Belize Tourism Board (BTB) invitation for a five-day, all-expense-paid vacation in Belize. Biles holds dual citizenship in Belize and the United States and her adopted mother is a Belize native. The multiple gold medal winner vacationed on Belize’s Ambergris Caye last year according to a San Pedro Sun report.
“Anyone who witnessed the performance of the world’s finest athletes at the just-concluded Rio Olympics must surely have felt a burst of pride every time his or her country’s brand dominated the competition,” said Hugh Riley, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
“Those athletes, champions all, displayed the attributes we ascribe to brand champions. To those who represented the Caribbean we especially offer our kudos whether or not they ended up on the medal stands.”
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