World class middle-distance runner Jon Rankin may be American but because his parents are Caymanian he will be competing for these shores in the future.
The 27-year-old San Diego-based runner hopes that by switching allegiances it will lead to Olympic glory at the London Games in 2012.
Rankin only just failed to make the last Olympic team for the US but by running for Cayman, as long as he reaches the qualifying times he will not have that uncertainty in major tournaments.
Rankin is a common Caymanian and Jamaican name so there is no question that he has strong ties in this region.
Rankin ran in a couple of races here earlier this year. He said: ‘I’m not too sure when I’ll race in Cayman again. I hope to be able to race in Cayman very soon. It would be a great joy for me to race in front of my family, friends and growing number of fans on the islands.
‘Both my mother and father, Penelope and John, were born in George Town and that’s where my roots on the islands begins.
‘Additionally, I have a great number of family members still living in Cayman; aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. As far as Jamaica goes I’m not absolutely sure, but I do believe that I have relatives living there as well.’
The summer season may be over but he’s preparing for indoor meets in earnest.
‘I’ll be competing in such meets as the Boston Indoor Games, Millrose Games and the Tyson Invitational. My goal for the indoor season is to make the 13th IAAF Indoor World Championship standard in the 1500 metres and the 3,000m. And ultimately, I would like to compete in the Indoor World Championships and do really well.
‘For the outdoor season I plan on competing in the Prefotaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon in June 2010. I will also be competing in the major track meets in Europe during the summer. My goal for 2010 is to compete well for the islands at both the CAC games and the Commonwealth Games.’
Rankin’s acquisition for Cayman is quite a coup.e As a freshman at UCLA in 2001, he won the US Junior Championships in the 1500m in an impressive time of 3 minutes 51.8 seconds.
He has a coach with the best predigree possible, none other than the 1984 Olympic 800m gold medalist Joaquim Cruz of Brazil, which is partly why he will mainly continue to train in California.
The Cayman Marathon is on 6 December but Rankin doesn’t have that in his sights.
‘I would love to run marathons someday, but right now my focus in on the shorter, faster middle distance races such as 800m and 1500m. Maybe someday I’ll run the Cayman Marathon, but that will most likely be a few years from now.’