Criteria for Legends Walk of Fame under scrutiny

As of Wednesday, December 7, 2022


#Tribune Sports Reporter

#THE criteria and selection process for the National Walk of Fame has recently come under scrutiny following the latest additions to the list of honourees.

#One of the most vocal public critics of the selection process has been Olympic silver medallist Andretti Bain.

#Bain took to social media to voice his concern over a series of perceived slights, the latest of which has been the omission from the Walk of Fame. He cited the act as a lack of recognition to his relay teammates and several members of the track and field community.

#“First there was the airport plaque snub for the 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2016 men’s 4x400m relay teams World Championships and Olympic Games medallists… (still don’t know why our teams have yet to be recognised at the airport like those before and after us) BUT now I think this is beyond an oversight and just blatantly unacceptable as it discredits the accomplishments of myself and others also deserving of such honours,”

#Bain said: “I truly have to question if in fact due diligence was used, ensuring that all persons deserving were honoured. Reviewing the selections of the other federations, persons were honoured for simply becoming professionals in their sport. Surprisingly, track and field seems to have followed suit! If this in fact was the case, then all of our medallists from all major competitions are deserving of recognition.

#“However, in track and field, our golden standard of success is winning an Olympic or World Championship medal.

#“Therefore, I have to question how is it that not just myself but other Olympics and Worlds medallists were omitted from the list of legends.

#“There’s no grey lines with this. You’re either a medallist at the highest level or you’re not.”

#At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bain teamed with Michael Mathieu, Andrae Williams, Chris Brown, Avard Moncur and Ramon Miller to win in 2:58.03 seconds.

#His list of accolades also includes NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, a Commonwealth Games silver medal and a Pan Am Games gold medal.

#He was recently named an assistant coach on the staff of his alma mater, Oral Roberts University. Bain further cited the cases of several athletes including 400m world champion and multiple relay medallist Avard Moncur, Derrick Atkins, Troy Kemp, Donald Thomas, Trevor Barry, Jeffrey Gibson, Sheniqua Ferguson, Christine Amertil and fellow members of the men’s 4x400m relay teams over the years.

#“Have we gotten to a point where we no longer appreciate and recognise all of our legends? Are we blinded by selective memory, popularity and biases? A country’s greatest asset are its people. A sport’s greatest asset are its athletes. How can we truly inspire those to come when we forget and disregard those who paved the way!” Bain added.

#“When are we as an Athletic Federation of Elected Officials, Coaches and Athletes going to speak up and stand for the greater good of all our athletes and not just a few and especially not just our personal gain?

#“I call on the BAAA and Ministry of Sports to review the selection criteria, put together a list of all of our Olympics and World Championships medallists so that we may also honour all those most deserving of national recognition at the airport and at the Legends Walk.”

#The Legends Walk of Fame features 69 portraits of past and present Bahamian sporting superstars by celebrity artist Jamaal Rolle outside the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.

#Its relaunch was celebrated last week with the additions of 400m Olympic champions Shanaue Miller-Uibo, Steven Gardiner and Anthonique Strachan. The relaunch was also presented on the same day the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture officially launched the return of the CARIFTA Games, whihc will also mark the 50th Independence celebrations here at the stadium scheduled for April 7-10, 2023.

#Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg responded to the growing public discourse over the selection process.

#“There are some persons who have not made the Hall of Fame or Legends Walk as yet. It does not mean that they will not get there. Some persons are of the view that others should not be there before them but there is no criteria on who should go there first.

#“Most persons there are still active in their sporting disciplines and so again, some may say that they were better than the other and they should have gone on the walk first but I think persons need to focus more on trying to make the Hall of Fame,” he said. “There are some athletes who have performed very well in their disciplines and have not made the walk as yet but I think the decision was made by the LOC and not the Ministry to try and showcase those three athletes, who in my opinion the ministry supports greatly, who were recently placed on the Legends Walk because of their success in track and field.

#“Knowing that we are about to host the 50th anniversary of CARIFTA, was the reason we chose to showcase them with two of them being Sealy award winners – Anthonique Strachan and Shaunae Miller-Uibo.”

#Strachan was a two-time winner of the Austin Sealy award, given to the most outstanding performer at the CARIFTA Track and Field Championships.

#Bowleg added that in time, all deserving honourees will receive their due recognition.

#“I don’t think it’s fair to say it is anything based on who performed better. All of these athletes are world class and Olympic champions who represented the country well and it’s just a matter of time before the rest will be able to get on the Walk and make the Hall of Fame,” he said.

#“We haven’t forgotten anyone, I know it’s frustrating to some people but I believe each athlete within their own right are deserving of all the awards and accolades awarded by the previous and existing government and this one. We cannot put everyone there at once, but we continue to hope patience will come and those who are deserving will go there.”

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