EDITORIAL – 2016 Olympics: Let the Games begin! (almost)

Florence Allan, Geoffrey Butler, Lara Butler, Ronald Forbes and Kemar Hyman. Those are the names of the Cayman Islands’ national sporting heroes, who will compete in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Our regular readers should already be familiar with the members of the Cayman team, as they have appeared many times in the pages of the Compass over the years.

Ms. Allan, who at 18 is our youngest Olympian, will compete in Laser Radial sailing.

The Butler siblings, Lara (21 years old) and Geoffrey (20 years old), will compete in swimming.

At 31 years of age, Mr. Forbes is the veteran of the bunch. He is slated to compete in the 110-meter hurdles in Rio. This will be his third time to represent Cayman at the Olympics.

Mr. Hyman, who is 26 years old, represented Cayman in the 2012 Olympics in London. In Rio, he will be running the 100-meter dash, where his all-time personal best is truly blazing, at under 10 seconds.

Whenever we watch our athletes compete, we’re always crossing our fingers, holding our breath and hoping for gold – but we certainly realize that our group is up against more than 10,000 elite athletes from more than 200 countries around the world.

The Olympics is the biggest stage of them all, and accordingly attracts the fiercest competitors.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists are expected to descend upon the coastal metropolis to see the events or simply to participate in the Olympics festivities.

Our pride for our team and for Cayman does not hinge on the results of any particular contest, but rather on the expectation that our athletes will conduct themselves with dignity on and off the track (or in and out of the pool, or ocean), knowing that for a few fleeting moments during the opening ceremony and their events, millions upon millions of people will be watching them – not just as individuals – but as representatives of Cayman.

Back home, of course, we’ll all be cheering our athletes on.

In Rio, presumably, there will also be a delegation of people from Cayman who will travel to support our athletes.

Although the Games are rapidly approaching (the Aug. 5 opening is just over two weeks away), we don’t know yet who will be in that delegation, or even how large of a contingent Cayman will be sending.

However, we’re sure those will be the hottest tickets in town.

The Olympics is a unifying, feel-good story for our country. We will be providing robust coverage of our athletes and the competition; to do otherwise would constitute a true disservice to the people of Cayman.

We salute our Olympic athletes, we support them, and we know they’ll make us proud.