Celebrations for Bahamas women's Gold Medal 4x100m relay team
1 December 1999 - The Bahamas Womens World Championship 4x100m Relay Team shocked the world in August when they won the Gold Medal, defeating Jamaica, France, and the United States. The victory celebrations scheduled by the Bahamas Government in September had to be rescheduled due to the visit of the devastating Hurricane Floyd.
This past weekend the celebrations began much to the delight of the Bahamian public.
On Saturday there was a Giant Motorcade, complete with festive Junkanoo groups. The motorcade ended at the Thomas Robinson Track and Field Stadium where a rally was held.
During the rally a song, "Oh What a Feeling!" written especially for the "Golden Girls", was played. On Sunday a special church service was held.
The Governor General, Sir Orville Turnquest, one of the founding members of the Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association hosted a reception at Government House. At this reception the Womens Relay team that included Sevetheda Fynes, Chandra Sturrup, Pauline Davis-Thompson, Debbie Ferguson, and Eldece Clarke-Lewis were showered with gifts from the Bahamian business community. They also received $20,000 each from the Bahamas Government. Christmas certainly came early for the " Golden Girls".
The Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association hosted a luncheon on Tuesday at the new British Colonial Hilton. Orbitex Management who made a donation of $50,000 to the federation in honour of the "Golden Girls" sponsored the luncheon. Newly elected president Desmond Bannister spoke of some of his plans to take Bahamian Track and Field into the New Millenium. Also present at this luncheon were three members of the first Bahamian womens Track and Field Team. Gail Saunders, formerly North, Christine Darville, formerly Jones, Elaine Thompson, and Althea Rolle, who did not attend the luncheon competed in the 400m relay in the 1962 Central American and Caribbean Games in Kingston, Jamaica.
The celebrations wound down on Wednesday, December 1st with a luncheon hosted by Atlantis Sun International on Paradise Island.
Members of the Pan Am Games and World Championships Teams were also present for the celebrations that saw billboards all around the island.
Visitors to Nassau will see large posters of the "Golden Girls" as well as posters of Frank Rutherford, the first Bahamian Olympic medallist, and Troy Kemp, the first Bahamian World Championships Gold Medallist.
Even though the victory celebrations were postponed for two months due to Hurricane Floyd, the Bahamian public showed great appreciation for the feat of the Bahamas "Golden Girls".
From Alpheus Finlayson,
IAAF Council Member
Photo, Peter Ramsay, Bahamas Information Services