A Sports View: Riddick’s Role In Bahamian World Track/Field Legacy
Steve Riddick is one of the finest track and field coaches on the world scene today. When thusly complimented he modestly shrugs, but the truth be said, he has been the very foundation of the highest level of Bahamian prominence in the sport these last two years.
…Part of our track and field legacy
Undoubtedly, his prime athlete, Tonique Williams-Darling, the national record holder at 49.07, is the pillar of Bahamian track and field and this has been the case since she took the world by storm during the 2004 season. In that year, she made double history in her nation. She became the first Bahamian to win the prestigious Golden League Series and also the first to claim an individual Olympics Gold medal.
She followed that with the World Championship last year and The Commonwealth Games silver medal in her specialty, the 400 Metres, just last month. She is crafting a wonderful legacy and is following up very well on the heel of the successful years of the Golden Girls (Pauline Davis, Chandra Sturrup, Debbie Ferguson, Savatheda Fynes and Eldeece Clarke). Ferguson who won the Olympic bronze medal in the 200 Metres in 2004 and Sturrup are still considered true world elites, but it is Williams-Darling who has been our leader on the international stage these last two years.
She credits much of her success to Riddick. In fact she did not emerge as a world beater until she moved to Virginia to be under the wings of Riddick who was once one of the swiftest in the world during his career. He is an Olympic gold medalist for the United States and brings tremendous knowledge of the sport to his mentoring obligations.
Also in his camp is Chris Brown, the big-hearted runner who has developed under Riddick to be one of the top male quarter milers in the world. Then, there is Dennis Darling, Tonique’s husband, who has come around quite well and is now one of our top contributors to the national 1600 Relay team, one of the best in the world.
Because they are out there on the world stage competing, the athletes understandably get the attention. But in the background, are people like Steve Riddick who do much to make the difference between average performances and medal efforts.
Recently when he chatted, he expressed satisfaction for what his athletes have done so far in 2006.
"Well, Chris got a bronze medal at the World Championships in Russia. He would have gotten a medal and should have at The Commonwealth Games. That little bit extra got taken out of him by the heavy travel from Russia to Melbourne. He had three virtual full days of traveling before he reached to Australia. That took something from him. But he ran quite well nevertheless. We would have seen something in that relay but things went wrong (Avard Moncur dropped the baton following the handoff from Darling and Dominic Demeritte and Brown never got to run).
“We thought Tonique would win the gold. It is still early and she is not at her best but we thought we could win. But, it did not happen. We are OK though. We are running grass now and they will be ready when they go on the circuit,” Riddick informed.
His sound presence is a confidence builder. Continued quality performances can be expected from his charges, leading all the way to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and beyond.
Continue your excellent work with our special elites Steve!
Your continued connection will do much for the growth of the Bahamian legacy in world track and field.
APART FROM ALL THAT GUFF, GOOD LUCK FIGHTING YOUR FELONY CHARGE OF $1/2MILLION BANK FRAUD! kk :rolleyes:
…Bahamian leader on the world scene
On another track and field note, Williams Darling has announced her intention to donate $500.00 of her purse from every race ran under 51 seconds, to a fund in honour of another person who was a big contributor to her emergence as the best in the world.
Reference is to the late Keith Carey who was very supportive and assisted her early US training efforts financially. We spoke to Williams-Darling on Tuesday and she was in high spirits, comfortable as always in the fact that she is able to make meaningful contributions to her nation and its people.
Well done, Tonique!