The new track season starts soon and after the exploits of the five Caymanians at the London Olympics last year, the next generation of potential Olympians are inspired.
Jon Rankin was hopeful of getting to the London Games in the 1500 metres but had too many setbacks. He returned from years of illness and injury to take the Cayman Islands marathon in style last month and although 30 now he too is inspired to follow his dream and reach the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Of the youngsters coming through, teenage javelin specialist Alex Pascal stands out and if sprinter Chantelle Morrison can overcome persistent injury, she wants to emulate five-time Olympian Cydonie Mothersill.
Kemar Hyman had mixed emotions at the London Games, getting through to the 100 metres semi-finals but having to pull out through injury.
At 23 he has plenty of time for at least two Olympic Games. Assuming he continues to progress, Hyman could well be a world beater in the future, having ran a 100m 9.95 seconds before the Olympics.
Ronald Forbes fared badly in the first round of the 110m hurdles in London, went out disappointingly and is focused on redeeming himself in Brazil.
Mothersill had not overcome injury at the London Games and failed to run. She will not be at the next Olympics as a competitor but possibly in a coaching or admin capacity. Her last competitive race was in winning the women’s 200m at the inaugural Cayman Invitational in May which she won.
Few athletes in the world have the connections to get world record holders and Olympic champions to attend a low-key fundraising event at a moment’s notice, yet that is exactly what Mothersill managed to do for her celebrity lunch in November.
Dine With the Olympians lunch at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort saw former 100 metres world record holder Asafa Powell hop over from Jamaica at short notice as one of the star guests.
Multiple champ Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was scheduled to come but had to pull out unexpectedly and Powell was only too pleased to fill in.
The event was Mothersill’s way of giving back to Cayman Islands Athletic Association to raise money for the programme.
At $125 a pop it was a big ask but the five-time Olympian, through her company KyStar, managed to attract enough support to make it a huge success.
Doctor Glen Mills, the celebrated head coach of Racers Track Club – where Usain Bolt and Blake train – also came.
Mills announced he rarely travels from Jamaica after an Olympics but so special is his relationship with Mothersill that he thought nothing of coming over.
Also over were Jamaica’s Warren Weir, 200m bronze medallist behind Bolt and Blake at the London Olympics and Michael Frater, another Jamaican, who won gold in London Gin setting the world 4x100m relay record with Bolt, Blake and Nesta Carter.
Bahamian 400m specialist Chris Brown completed the line up. He too won gold at the London Games, running spectacularly in the final leg of the 4x400m to beat off the United States.
Mothersill won the Commonwealth Games gold three years ago so there is a possibility, assuming she is fit, that she could defend it next year.
Hyman is well on the road back to recovery after his disappointment in London.
The Cayman Islands 100 metres record holder had been receiving treatment for hamstring and calf strains but abdominal pains prevented him turning out in the semis.
The Fraser brothers, Shaune and Brett, did Cayman proud in the pool at the London Games, both reaching the semis. Rio will be Shaune’s fourth Olympics and Brett’s third but they still retain an enthusiasm for the rigours of year-round, arduous training.
Of the next generation coming through, coach Derek Larner is bringing along middle-distance runners like Tahj Lewis and Tiffany Cole along nicely.
Technical director Kenrick Williams and coach Tyrone Yen have plenty of youngsters emerging as future champs including Ashleigh Nalty, Jonathan Frederick and Andrew Frederick.