Directed by the International Olympic Committee to have an appropriate ceremony for the purpose of presenting the long-awaited silver medals to the national 4x100 metres relay team, the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) adhered and at a classy function hosted by President Anthony Carmona and his wife Reema last Wednesday, the precious metal was handed over.
This was at The Anchorage in Chaguaramas during a send off ceremony in recognition of the T&T delegation for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil from August 5-21.
It was a fitting way to finally deliver to Richard Thompson, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender and Marc Burns with their long awaited, four years to be exact, silver medals rightly earned at the 2012 London Games.
TTOC president Brian Lewis was there for the momentous occasion, sharing that the foursome had represented T&T to the highest esteem and should also be recipients of a financial reward, for being among the athletes who respect the rules of the sport.
"I am prepared to take a proposal to the executive of TTOC or at least start discussions on the London 2012 4x100m relay team being given a cash reward, putting under consideration the medal upgrade," said Lewis.
Last year ahead of the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, the TTOC initiated a monetary bonuses programme to any athlete who received a medal at an associated competition, with the highest award of $US3,000 being offered to a gold medalist in an individual event.
The prize structure covers medal winning athletes in individual, relay events and team events with a single athlete set to receive anywhere from US$750-$3,000 depending on the event. Individual silver medal winners will receive US$2,000 and $1,000 for a bronze medals. Relay gold medal teams will earn US$9,000 for gold; US$6,000 for silver and US$3,000 for bronze, while each athlete who earns a gold medal in a team sport, such as football, takes US$1,500 each; US$1,000 for silver and US$750 per athlete for bronze.
"The introduction of medal bonuses is an essential component of the ten or more Olympic Gold medals athlete welfare and preparation programme," said Lewis. "The bonus is not retroactive but there must be discussions on giving a cash incentive for their upgrade.
"I will also be recommending that the reward be a given as a qualification type bonus instead of stipend which is normally given to the athlete once representing T&T.
"What we are trying to create is a performance driven culture as part of the vision #10golds24 (ten or more Olympic Gold medals by 2024) to further enable national athletes to realise their Olympic dreams.
Back in 2012, the T&T unit, who crossed fourth in the 4x100 relay final at the London Games, was twice upgraded to earn the silver medal. The team moved from fourth to third after Canadian team of Justyn Warner, Garvin Smellie, Oluseyi Smith and Jared Connaughton, running the third leg and on the final turn, had taken a step on the lane line, automatically disqualifying them.
Three years later, news came that the entire US squad was stripped of its silver medal as a result of Tyson Gay's doping case.