With four heroes in one family, you could say the Merrens are Cayman’s version of “The Incredibles.”
Monday’s National Heroes Day was a trip down memory lane for the family, with four siblings picking up awards for their glittering sporting careers.
Craig Merren, a three-time Olympic cyclist, his brother Duke Perri Merren, who finished 58th in the road race at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and their sister Merilyn Phillips, the first woman to represent Cayman at the Olympics in 1984 for cycling, were all named pioneers in sports.
Their brother, Darcy Rivers, also won a long service award for his contributions to softball.
Craig Merren said it was a thrill to collect the award alongside his siblings. He said their mother, Deanna Merren, deserved an award too for her part in their success.
Mr. Merren also put together the cycling exhibit for a Heroes Day exhibition at the George Town Town Hall after the event.
The bike he rode at the 1988 Olympics was among the memorabilia on display as 20 sporting associations showed off medals and artifacts and introduced newcomers to their sports.
Mr. Merren said it had been a nostalgic experience.
“It took me two or three days to put all that stuff together, because I would find all this memorabilia and when I find something, I would stop and remember,” he said.
He said his greatest memories were of representing his country as a 17-year-old cyclist at the Los Angeles Olympics and of winning Cayman’s first gold and silver medals at the Carifta Games in Barbados in 1985. He also went on to compete in team time trials at the 1988 and 1992 games in South Korea and Barcelona, competing alongside legends of the sport like Miguel Induráin and Lance Armstrong.
His brother Duke had a strong performance at the Seoul Olympic road race, but was denied the chance to compete at Barcelona in 1992 after a road accident in Cayman left him in a coma.
He recovered fully, but not in time to compete.
The Cayman Islands Cycling Association was among the 20 sports associations to put on demonstrations and exhibit at the Town Hall for Heroes Day.
Visitors got to try their hand at everything from darts to boxing and view medals and memorabilia from different sports’ glory days.