From a child, double Olympic bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon had a love for the speedy cheetah. Little did his mother Cynthia Cupid know that one day, her energetic, robust son would run past some of the world’s best quarter milers and claim bronze in the men’s 400m finals in a personal best of 44.52 seconds at the London Olympics on Monday 6 August. Cupid did not understand her son’s fascination with the feline. “He loved animals and his favourite was the cheetah. He always talk about it being the fastest animal and did not know where he was coming from. Then one day he came home from middle school with a trophy and said ‘Mommy, Friday I am going for the bigger one. And Friday came, and he got a bigger medal. That is when I started paying closer attention to him. His teacher said he was gifted young man. There was a monster in Lalonde waiting to come out. He used to make so much trouble, you know, running about.”
Speaking on her son’s arrival in Trinidad on Saturday, the Mt St George-born, New York, USA resident said she shouted for joy when Gordon crossed the line third in London. “I was screaming. I felt like a celebrity that day. I could not believe it. I just could not believe it. I say thanks to everyone.” She admitted she was nervous before the race. “I had lots of belly ache and butterflies in my stomach. I knew Lalonde was going to do something, but I just was so anxious. I didn’t want to watch him. But as a mother, I was alway there for him. I felt so proud when I saw him getting into the semifinals and then to the finals. I was so happy. I just knew that day he was going to bring home a medal.” Lalonde ran the lead off leg for the men’s 4X400m team, which was third in a national record of 2:59.40. Gordon was also a member of T&T’s World Indoor 4X400m bronze medal winning team in Instanbul, Turkey in March earlier this year.
Cupid, who migrated to Queen’s, New York when Lalonde was two years old, said her son was always a challenge to manage. “Lalonde was always active running, jumping. Nobody wanted him to come by them because he was always active.” She shared that she did have an early scare as he was sick as a toddler and had to be operated on. “As a child he was sick. One day he was flown to Trinidad to do an operation. Funny enough, almost all the kids on that ward died. When I came in and saw him head down on the bed, I thought I had lost my son. But then the doctor told me he was not sick since he was born strong.” Following their return to Trinidad, Lalonde and his mother arrived in Tobago later on Saturday, and were greeted by Tobagonians dancing to the beats of African drums and the sounds of conch shells. Banners read: “Congrats Lalonde ‘Flash’ Gordon.” “Tobago joy.” “You made up proud. From family and friends.”
Lalonde was surprised by the reception and acknowledged the hundreds of fans who gathered at Crown Point. Another surprise came when he saw his grand mother Yvonne Gordon who was in the arrival hall at the ANR Robinson International Airport to meet him. She hugged and kissed him. Tobago House of Assembly Assistant Secretary for Education, Youth Affairs and Sports Huey Cadette, THA Minority Leader Ashworth Jack and coach Gerard Franklyn were also on hand to welcome the local hero. Tobago Development Minister Dr. Delmon Baker also congratulated Gordon as he came in on a later flight. Gordon will be be joined by Olympic men’s javelin champion Keshorn Walcott, and several of T&T’s other Olympians in Tobago today for a motorcade on the island. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the Cabinet will also accompany the athletes. The Tobago House House of Assembly will host a cocktail reception in Gordon’s honour later. Gordon returns to the US tomorrow, before heading out to Switzerland where he is due to run in the Lausanne Diamond League 400m.