The Caribbean and the world’s new queen of the 400m, is another Bahamian darling, Shaunae Miller, whose victory came with a dramatic finish on Monday, August 15 at the Olympic Games in Rio-de-Janeiro, is yet another Caribbean sprinting jewel. Her predecessor in this most prestigious position, was most appropriately, another darling, by her name, Tonique Williams-Darling, who took the title in the 2004 Athens Games.
Shaunae, who had taken the fight and her scintillating 200m speed to the field from the opening salvo, led all the way and on entering the final straightaway with a metre lead on top rival, USA’s Allyson Felix, sustained her determined effort heading to the line, finishing with a desperate lunge to cross it, torso first, which assured her the victory, 49.44 – a personal best to Felix’s season best of 49.51.
The new Olympic commented: “It all kind of happened. My mind went completely blank and the next thing I was on the floor. We had the outside lane and my coach told me to take control of the race and I think I executed well,” Shaunae Miller after 400m win.
The tight margin as seen to the eye of knowledgeable critics, did not seem to the recorded and official 7/100th of a second. It brought into stark recollection, the title of a long time, Caribbean folk song, “Dip and fall back” (a more modern version at >>>
The 2011 World Youth Champion, always with a radiant and infectious disposition, has been blessed with the benefit of good and experienced mentorship. This, as Jamaican, Athletes Representative, Claude Bryan, who also tends the double Olympic champion over 200m, Veronica Campbell-Brown, has her on his highly selective roster. An introduction by Bryan to this writer at the inaugural World Relays, sited in her country in 2014, has left a lasting and pleasing impression. Here was a lass, tasting and developing an endearment with the bright lights and just happy for the privilege of being a part of it.
Coached by Lance Brauman, who once conditioned Campbell Brown, the tall and elegant 22 year old, with admirable carriage, would also have come under the influence of her country’s icon in athletic administration, insurance executive Alpheus Finlayson. Finlayson, has for several years, been a fixture at all levels of competition, from the Carifta Games to the very top, inspiring, motivating and encouraging the athletes from Bahamaland, including the Golden Girls, Pauline (Davis), Debbie (Ferguson), Sevatheda (Fynes), Chandra (Sturrup) and Eldeece (Clarke).
He spoke exclusively to Trackalerts.com after the win.”Shaunae told me after Worlds that she would win in Rio.” She had taken the silver behind Felix in Beijing last year.
Shaunae Miller is well shepherded in her quest for additional glory and long may that continue.