It is a source of pride that at the Summer Olympics held in Tokyo in 1964, athletes from this country stepped up to the medal podium to collect their rewards of silver and bronze.
The achievements of silver medalist Wendell Mottley in the 400 metres, along with Edwin Roberts and the men’s relay team, who brought home bronze medals, were cause for national celebrations then.
Today, 57 years later, a new generation of Trinidad and Tobago athletes, once again gearing up for intense sporting competition in Tokyo, will seek to bring more Olympic glory to this nation.
A 33-member contingent — the largest ever to represent the country at this prestigious multi-sport event — will seek to surpass the successes of past T&T Olympians as they compete in their respective disciplines.
Inspired by memories of Tokyo 1964, this cohort of athletes have already overcome the challenge of having their Olympic dreams deferred but not denied by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The official start of the 2020 Olympics one year later than originally scheduled has proven to be one more test of patience and endurance for the sports personalities who now finally have their chance to go for gold.
While the coronavirus continues to hang over the games – an unwelcome and uninvited guest- the ability of the International Olympics Committee and the thousands of participants from more than 206 nations to get to this point is a major triumph.
The Games are taking place largely behind closed doors with no spectators due to the pandemic state of emergency in Japan, displays of the Olympic spirit, but will still be witnessed around the world.
And one of the biggest victories will be that the values of the Olympic Movement to “contribute to building a peaceful and better world … with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play,” will once more be realised.
Across T&T, viewers, who can tune in to our sister station CNC3 for the live broadcasts from today to August 8, will be able to revel in that indomitable Olympic spirit displayed by the world’s best athletes.
T&T has been represented at the Summer Games since 1948, when three athletes, George Lewis, Manny Ramjohn and Wilfred Tull, represented what was then a tiny British colony in London.
In the decades since, this country has won 19 Olympic medals, including 15 in track and field athletics, three in weightlifting and one in swimming.
Hasley Crawford brought home T&T’s first gold medal from the 1976 Montreal Games and in London in 2012, Keshorn Walcott turned in another golden performance. There have also been medal-winning performances from other Team TTO representatives, including Lalonde Gordon, Richard Thompson, George Bovell III, Ato Boldon, Wendell Mottley and Rodney Wilkes.
Building on these past glories, the Olympians of 2021 now begin their quest for sporting glory. In their sights is the goal set by T&T Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis to achieve eight more Olympic gold medals by the 2024 Summer Games.
It is an objective that Mr Lewis has been pursuing since the start of his tenure in 2013. Eight years later, the country has a chance to move closer to that dream.
Let the Games begin.