Down Memory Lane: A Decade To Remember

Shaunae Miller-Uibo

Shaunae Miller-Uibo

Friday, January 3, 2020



#Tribune Sports Reporters

#Lest we forget, it was only a short time ago that we couldn’t wait to usher in the millennium of 2000.

#Today, we reflect on what has been a turbulent decade of so many ups and downs, thrills and spills, successes and failures, triumphs and defeats and performances and feats from the movers and shakers in sports.

#We just don’t have the space to highlight them all, but as we turn back the pages of 2010-2019 and we begin a new chapter in 2020, The Tribune Sports Department will take the time out to single out a few as we go back down memory lane.

#Athlete of the Decade

#Without any stretch of the imagination, the one name that magically stood out over all the others was Shaunae Miller-Uibo.

#Her list of achievements have by far posted her as the G.O.A.T. – greatest of all time – of the decade.

#For starters in 2010, she claimed four gold medals at CARIFTA Games and went on to win the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships and the IAAF World Junior Championships 400m crowns.

#After she got disqualified in the defence of her 400m title in the final at the CARIFTA Games in 2011, Miller-Uibo emerged as the IAAF World Youth Championships champion, becoming the first athlete to ever hold both the Under-20 and Under-18 championship 400m titles concurrently.

#She returned in 2012 and easily won the 200m and a silver on the 4 x 400m relay team. But she also missed out on a successful defence of her 400m title at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships.

#The year concluded with her making her initial appearance on the global senior international scene where she contested the 400m at the Olympic Games in London, England, only to bow out in the heats after pulling up coming off the first curve.

#However, Miller-Uibo came back, and closed out her junior career in 2013 at the CARIFTA Games by snatching three gold medals in the 200m, 400m and on the 4x100m relay.

#In the process, she earned the Austin Sealy Award as the most outstanding athlete before she had to settle for fourth place in the 200m in her debut at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia.

#The 25-year-old 2012 St Augustine’s College graduate opened 2014 by claiming her first major senior medal with a bronze at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland.

#She followed that with a silver at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China in 2015. Her second time around at the Olympics in 2016 produced a gold in the 400m in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.

#With the ink not yet dried on her marriage certificate to her University of Georgia college sweetheart Maicel Uibo, in 2017, Miller-Uibo helped the Bahamas win the inaugural running of the mixed gender 4 x 400m relay at the IAAF World Relays at home and she went to the IAAF World Championships in London, England and pursued a rare 200/400m double, finishing with a bronze and fourth respectively.

#All that inspired Miller-Uibo as she bounced back in 2018 to secure the gold at the Commonwealth Games in the Coast Coast, Australia as she went on a winning streak that was finally broken when she had to settle for the silver at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

#What a remarkable achievement for the Athlete of the Year.

#Executive of the Decade

#Mike Sands’ tenure through the sport of track and field might have been one of the most dramatic, but he was able to withstand all of the fiery darts through at him and now he’s sitting around the table as an executive of the world’s influential International Amateur Athletic Federation board.

#At the completion of his term in office as president of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations in 2012, the former

#Bahamian national 400m record holder, who began his administration as the public relations officer, again ran and was re-elected in 2013.

#However, there was a vote of no confidence in Sands, who was suspended for about 30 days. Once reinstated, he went on to serve until 2015 when he was ousted by his incumbent treasurer Rosamunde Carey, who became the first female ever elected to head the most fledging sporting body in the country, outside of the Bahamas Olympic Committee, of which he served as a vice president as well.

#However, Sands remained relentless and continued to push behind the scene.

#He eventually was seconded to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Cultured where he served as a consultant after his department from Bahamasair.

#During the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Under-23 and Under-18 Championships in June, 2017 during their Congress in Queretaro, Mexico, Sands was elected as the new president, replacing Victor Lopez.

#Sands, however, didn’t officially take over until the IAAF Congress that was held at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar in August. He now serves as the area representative on the executive board, replacing Pauline Davis-Thompson, who could not be re-elected as a Council Member.

#What a remarkable turn around for Sands during the past decade of his trials and tribulations.

#Story of the Decade

#Some things are better said than done. The Sports story for the decade would have to be one of them.

#It’s the tale of two of the country’s top shining stars, who made it all the way to the pinnacle of sports, but fell short of crowning their careers with an Olympic medal.

#In the case of Chris ‘Fireman’ Brown, who can forget his glaring performances as one of the most feared quarter-milers the world has seen, having participated in five consecutive Olympic Games, which are held over four years.

#Over the course of his 20-plus career that he intent to complete after the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, Brown was the most decorated Bahamian at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, winning four of his six total medals, including a gold in Doha, Qatar in 2010 and was a member of two Olympic medal winning performances by the men’s 4 x 400m relay, including the gold in 2012 in London, England and bronze in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

#But perhaps would has stood out the most on the 41-year-old Eleuthera native’s resume is his fourth place finish in London in the individual 400m after he served as the national flag carrier during the official opening ceremonies.

#Brown moved into the coaching ranks where he is now the head coach at Clayton State University where he reside with his wife and children.

#Before she officially retired in 2018 and also gone into coaching, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace also emerged as the most decorated Bahamian female swimmer, having finished eighth in her specialty in the women’s 50m freestyle in the second of her three Olympic appearances in 2012 in London, England. She also made the Olympics in 2008 and 2016.

#Unbeaten locally during the course of her latter career during the decade, 29-year-old Vanderpool-Wallace also came close to getting on the podium at the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia where she touched the wall in sixth place in the final of the women’s 50m free.

#Neither of them medaled at the pinnacle of their international sporting competitions, but both Brown and Vanderpool-Wallace gave it their all as they were jointly named in The Tribune’s Sporting Stories of the decade.

#Junior Athlete of the Decade

#Anthonique Strachan had an unprecedented run in the early part of the decade that rewrote the Bahamian record books and saw her recognised by the international governing body for track and field.

#Strachan was a two-time winner of the Austin Sealy Award at the CARIFTA Track and Field Championships (2011-12) and the IAAF’s Rising Star Award (2012).

#At the 2011 CARIFTA Games, she won two gold medals (100 metres in 11.38 secs and 200 metres in 23.17 secs and equaled Veronica Campbell of Jamaica’s meet record of 22.93 secs in the heats to earn her first award as the most outstanding performer at the meet.

#Strachan continued to progress in the region at the 2011 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships where she won gold individually in the 200 metres and as a member of the 4×100 metres team. Her 200m time of 22.70 secs was a new World Junior Leading and a new championship record at the time.

#At the 2012 CARIFTA Games, Strachan won three gold medals. In the 100 metres she ran 11.22 secs (wind aided, 4.4 m/s), 200 metres in a new CARIFTA record 22.85s and anchored the Bahamas 4 × 100 m relay team to gold in 45.02 secs to earn her second Austin Sealy. She joined an elite list of two time winners which included fellow Bahamian Laverne Eve (1982-1983), The Cayman Islands’ Kareem Streete-Thompson (1989-1990), Trinidad & Tobago’s Darrel Brown (1999-2000), and Jamaica’s Usain Bolt (2003-2004).

#At the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships, Strachan became the first woman in six years to win the 100m/200m sprint double. Her times of 11.20 secs and 22.53 secs respectively were personal bests – the latter an area junior record.

#Her active 2012 also included a semifinal berth in the 200m at the London Olympics where she placed fifth.

#Following her performances over the course of the season the IAAF awarded her with the Rising Star Award at its Centenary Gala.

#“I’m stunned. I didn’t know anything about getting the award. I thought I had been invited here to Barcelona to watch and be inspired,” said Strahan in an interview on the IAAF website.”

#Coach of the Decade

#Yolett McPhee-McCuin made history as a player, but her greatest contribution to the game of basketball came on the sidelines over the course of the decade.

#Currently the head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels women’s basketball programme, it was just the latest in the list of her accomplishments. McPhee-McCuin began the decade on staff for the Pittsburgh Panthers in 2010. She was part of a pair of postseason appearances with Panthers, who rose to No 14 in the national rankings and advanced to a Sweet 16. Her coaching career also includes stops at Portland, Frank Phillips College and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, where she earned her master’s degree in physical education.

#She was then an assistant at Clemson from 2011-13, where she was recognised as one of the top assistants in the nation by National Women’s Basketball Insider.

#She then got the head coaching job at Jacksonville University. She became the first Bahamian head coach in an NCAA Division I basketball programme when she was announced as the Dolphins head coach in April 2013.

#She made the Dolphins a dominant team in the Atlantic Sun Conference. During her tenure, they finished with a 94-63 record (50-24 in ASUN play) and three post-season appearances.

#While with the Tigers, McPhee-McCuin solidified her reputation as one of the best recruiters in the country, spearheading the No. 16 class in the nation in her final year at Clemson, which included five McDonalds All-America nominees.

#She achieved another first in 2013 when she was named The Bahamas’ women’s national basketball team head coach, and McPhee-McCuin immediately set out on her path to seek Olympic qualification for the country at the Tokyo games in 2020.

#Under McPhee-McCuin’s leadership, The Bahamas finished with the gold medal at the 2015 Caribbean Basketball Confederation Championships and turned in a fifth place finish at the 2017 Women’s Centrobasket Championships.

#McPhee-McCuin continued to make unprecedented milestones for Bahamian coaches in 2018 when she took the head coaching helm at a programme in a Power 5 Conference.

#She was named the head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels Women’s Basketball Programme in April as they look to rebuild and contend in the Southeastern Conference.

#The Rebels finished 9-22, 3-13 in conference play. The season was highlighted by the first ranked road win for the Rebels since 2011 when Ole Miss defeated the Kentucky Wildcats for the first time since 2007.

#Following her first season, both sides agreed in principle to a deal which will run through the 2023 season.

#Team of the Decade

#The Bahamas has become accustomed to winning Olympic relay medals but perhaps none with a finish as dramatic as the men’s 4x400m relay team of Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller at the London 2012 games.

#Miller passed American Angelo Taylor down the stretch of the final lap to send the Bahamian faithful into a frenzy. He closed out the race with a lap of 44.1 seconds to make history. Taylor was handed a 10-metre lead when he received the baton, but Miller chipped away.

#By the final stretch, Miller lived up to his nickname of ‘fearless,’ and stormed from behind to pass Taylor. The Americans had won gold the previous eight times they had competed, missing out only at the boycotted 1980 Moscow Games.

#The Bahamas Relay team won in 2:56.72 seconds, a national record time, ahead of the US, which came second and Trinidad & Tobago, which finished third.

#It marked the first Olympic gold medal in a men’s event in any sport for The Bahamas and the first American loss in that race at the Olympics since 1972. Sir Durward Knowles and Cecil Cooke won a gold medal in 1964 for sailing, which is not categorised as a men’s event.

#It was the first Olympic gold medal for veteran team member Brown. It’s been a long journey for me,” said Chris Brown, who ran the opening leg, “I’ve been here for a long time and this is my first Olympic gold medal. It took me a long time. The United States is a tough team to beat.”

#For Pinder, it was a bitter-sweet moment. Pinder’s sister, Claudia, passed away and was buried while he was in London preparing to run both the 400m and the 4 x 400m.

#“Just putting the medal around my neck, all I could do is remember my sister,” said the man who had run an exceptional second leg. “It’s a blessing to come out here and get gold, so I’m very proud,” Michael Mathieu, who had the most difficult leg to run on third with the huge challenge from American Tony McQuay.

#Brown, the senior man on the team, said: “It’s history. I thank the Bahamian fans, but we had to do this one for Leevan [Sands], who would have definitely won a medal if he didn’t get hurt and to Demetrius for what he had to go through with the loss of his sister.”

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