T&T's team TTO came away from the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games with a historic 13 medals which by all means our athletes have done us proud. The steel pan version of our national anthem was played twice after two gold medal-winning performances.
The citizens of T&T embraced the performances in the Peruvian capital. Lima 2019 featured more sports, more athletes and more Olympic qualifiers than the previous 17 editions of the Pan Am Games.
Team TTO athletes in individual and team sports battled the winter temperatures and conditions to fly the red, white and black with commitment, pride and determination.
Team T&T athletes and their coaches are to be congratulated. It's always a good feeling of accomplishment when sportsmen and sportswomen exceed their previous best. It's a sign of progress and improvement.
But it's also important to not get carried away. Sport has a way of bringing you back to reality should one be tempted to succumb to the temptation to over-celebrating. Maintaining perspective is always a wise option. T&T had good reason to be happy as the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games unfolded. But it's the nature of Olympic sport that as soon as the curtain came down at the closing ceremony last Sunday. There was little time to bask in the glory as our attention shifts to upcoming events.
The big shadow of Tokyo2020 remained a timely reminder of what is ahead of us.
It is not that the Pan Am Games is a lightweight by any means. For the Pan Am sports organisation, 70 years of history and 18 Pan American Games is not insignificant. It is a celebration of sport and culture while celebrating the best athletes in the Americas. The Pan Am Games bring together international sports Federations and organizations involved in the Americas and beyond. There were numerous sports leaders and decision-makers in Lima charting the course for the next four years and beyond.
The gathering also created networking opportunities to share information, knowledge and best practices. It was encouraging not just for Team TTO but also the sports brand of T&T.
Team TTO medal successes provided a platform to maximise T&T's visibility. Both during and since the closing ceremony last Sunday many citizens have commented on the sense of pride and positivity they felt and feel at the sight of and news of TeamTTO exploits in Lima.
These expressions of joy and pride in a very powerful way, on one hand, is inspirational and motivational and can only act as an impetus and motivation.
On the other had it can also enhance the burden of responsibility, obligation and duty to always represent the red, white and black with honour mindful at all times that representing the twin-Island Republic is not an entitlement but an honour and privilege.
Each medal won in Lima is a thank you to T&T.
To have made your countrymen and countrywomen happy and to allow them to share the achievement is in truth an invaluable and priceless gift.
On behalf of TeamTTO and the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee permit me to say Thank You Trinidad and Tobago.
Brian Lewis is the President of T&T Olympic (TTOC) and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the organisation.