On October 18th, 1964 The Bahamas made a significant jump towards Olympic Track and Field gold when Thomas Augustus Robinson made the final in the 100 metres at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Robinson at eighteen years of age became the first Bahamian to participate in Track & Field at the Olympics when he ran both 100 metres and 200 metres at the 1956 Melbourne Games.
A year later at the West Indian Federation Games in Kington Robinson won the country’s first medal in Track & Field when he finished third in the 100 metres.
At the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff at the tender age of twenty Robinson from St. John’s College and Hawkin’s Hill first won the silver medal in the 100 yards then shocked the world with a Gold medal in the 220 yards.
At the Rome Games Robinson made the semi-final in both events.
In the Tokyo semi-final Robinson finished second to Bob Hayes. In the final he started well and when he started to put on the afterburners at about fifty metres he suffered a hamstring pull, finishing eighth.
This was the first time that a Bahamian made a final in Track & Field in the Olympic Games. Since Atlanta in 1996 we have won numerous medals in the Games, several of them Gold.
However, to indicate the significance of Robinson’s performance, no Bahamian has made an Olympic final in the men’s 100 metres since, nearly a half century later.
Five days later in Tokyo Sir Durward Knowles and Cecil Cooke captured the Gold medal in Star Class Sailing, the first Gold medal for the Bahamas in the Olympic Games.
Eight years prior in Melbourne Sir Durward with Sloane Farrington won the Bronze in that same event, the first Olympic medal for The Bahamas.
We should appreciate the significance of October 18th, 1964 in Bahamian Track & Field history.
Alpheus Finlayson Bob Hayes set a new World record of 10.06 seconds, electronic in this race. Cuba’s Enrique Figuerola, who Robinson had defeated in Kingston in 1962 at the CAC Games was second, and Canada’a Harry Jerome who Robinson would have a near dead heat at the Commonwealth Games in Kingston in 1966 won the Bronze medal.
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