Three-time Olympic hurdler Ronald Forbes announced his retirement Friday after putting together one of the most decorated track and field careers in Cayman Islands history.
Forbes took to social media to make the announcement.
“As I take a chance to reflect on my athletics journey, I’m forced to be humbled and grateful,” wrote Forbes, whose last major competition came in 2016 at the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “It [has] been 21 years since a young kid from the North Side district ventured onto the track, trying to find his way in the world. He was searching desperately for that calling that sets a person’s soul on fire, but most importantly, trying to find his greater purpose.”
Forbes, who lives and trains in the Miami area, last year was voted by Compass readers as the top athlete in Cayman Islands history. He holds several national records, including the 110-metre high hurdles (13.36 seconds), 55-metre hurdles (7.28) and the 60-metre hurdles (7.58).
In addition to the three Olympic appearances, Forbes was a four-time world championships participant. He twice qualified for a world championships semifinals round and he advanced through to the quarterfinals of the 2008 Olympic Games, in Beijing, China, his best Olympics finish.
Forbes had been running some of the best times of his career leading up to the 2016 Olympics but injured his leg prior to the games. Forbes fought through the injury in the heats and was visibly hobbled as he ran a time of 14.67 seconds, good for 35th overall.
“My journey has been both arduous and exultant at times,” Forbes wrote. “Moments filled with overwhelming joy that seemed to elevate my soul beyond the stratosphere and in other instances, plagued with moments of complete hell and anguish. The great experiences have clearly outweighed the bad and with that said, it has all been worth it.”
Forbes’ top international finish as a professional athlete came at the 2015 Island Games, in Jersey. There, Forbes placed first overall in the 110 hurdles with a time of 13.62 seconds. Forbes ran collegiately first at Bacone College, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) programme in Oklahoma. From there, Forbes earned a scholarship to compete at National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I Florida International University. Forbes was a two-time All-American at FIU.
“For all that I have experienced in this sport, I am truly grateful,” Forbes wrote. “To all friends, family, supporters, coaches, sponsors and so many more , I am indebted for all that you’ve done to assist me along this road. As I now move onto another phase of my life, some of my hopes are that the example I’ve set can inspire many more to do better than I’ve done both athletically and personally.”
The playing field in North Side was recently named after Forbes.