Dominica’s 2012 Olympics team
(left to right)DOC’s Felix Wilson, Luan Gabriel, coach Joel Hamilton, Ericson Hurtault

The grand opening London 2012 was designed to reflect a green and active country, the green display obviously maintaining a focus on the environment. The cast dressed as ancient farmers reminiscing on an era when English domination was at its peak. Tonight it needed to recreate its stature to the world.

The show had to reflect greatness.

The show got off to a start when the official game bell was rung by England’s greatest cyclist, 2012 tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins.

It had to showcase the stunning strength of the past, the depth of its culture and the dynamism and change brought forth as the future becomes the present. This became more apparent as the cordrome was lit by seven young individuals, who in turn handed it to each other as they ran around the stadium. Signaling an engagement and inclusion of all!

As the lights came on and the clouds came to earth there was signs of change and indeed the show brought forth the sparkles of modern life. The years were clearly displayed and as the stage transformed before our eyes, it became clear that the destiny of this great country was being awaken. It did not look like they intended to go back rather excitement and optimism filled the seats of this 80,000 seat stadium, as a country facing serious fiscal, economic and cultural challenges, reached out to its youth. The search was not only to seek their strength, but their hearts and mind. After tonight Britain appears solidly on its way.

In a way the opening reflects more of the host country than the event. And it should;they paid for this event. The most significant aspect of the performance was its heavy and almost singular effort to highlight its own people and its culture. Had the same been done by any other country it would appear totally selfish. However so much of the global culture emanated from here that we all felt a part of the experience.It was a master piece that invoked all that Britain had to offer as the Queen in the end dropped the curtains to let the GAMES BEGIN!!!

Ericson Hurtault led the Dominican contingent. He looked quite smartly dressed in his national colors. The Columbia graduate strode confidently around the path where he would soon be matching up against the best in the world. For this moment though he looked his best. Erisson was not born in Dominica but chose to represent the land where his Father a native of Laplaine and Mother of Grand Fond were born. He excelled both academically and in athletics at the Ivy League Columbia University. For some time now he has been Dominica’s only elite athlete. This year the 400 meter 2011 Central American and the Caribbean (C.A.C) games bronze medalist aspires to bring home something special for Waitikubuli.

Ericson was followed by our adorable sprint princess. At 16 Luan Gabrielle will go down as the youngest Dominican to have ever attended an Olympic game. For this track sensation, 2012 has been an absolutely amazing year. She won gold at the Carifta Games in Bermuda and since then has been on a crusade around the world. It began with trips to Barbados and Trinidad in preparation for the Carifta Games. In Bermuda qualified for the C.A.C games in El Salvador. This was followed up with a trip to Spain where she took part in the World Junior Championship and from there she flew to London to form part of Dominica’s Olympic team.

Gabriel was chosen ahead of Thea Lafond, after the DOC got the approval to include a female in their team. Many discussions have ensued as to whether she was ready for this mega spotlight? Well Dominica, you watch as she gracefully marched around the stadium. Did she look ready? I must also add that tonight Dominica could not have had a better female dressed in our national colors, gracing this global stage. This colorful master piece was specially crafted by her personal seamstress Phillina Ambo of the village of Bioche. This young lady is a very hard worker. Her discipline and focus exceed her tender age. Such was her maturity as she graced the stage tonight, that few would guess that she turned 16 in 2012. Her personality and confident nature makes her ready for most things. Tonight, not even 80,000 screaming voices moved her. She walked around the stadium almost in her own world. Not unaware, but relishing the opportunity to put her country on the map. One day soon the world could be hers.

The discussions as to whether she will compete or not remains a hot topic throughout the land, however that call will be made by the athlete in consultation with the team coach. In the mean time, while observing the activities, Luan has been and is working along with a number of top sprint coaches (more to come). Some of the comments being made so far have been extremely encouraging. Special emphasis will be placed on an evaluation being done by the coach of Errison Hurtault. He is a highly skilled and experience coach and he will be reporting back to the head coach of the team Joel Hamilton who will then relate back to the relevant parties.

Special recognition must be extended to Cyrilla Hilton and Sharla Gabriel. This Mother and sister combination has raised an excellent ambassador for our country. Mr. Nabi Wallace must be singled out for his effort thus far. He has labored long and hard with Luan and while his task is not complete he to deserves his Kudos.

Tonight we saw big teams and some small contingents. Regardless of the team size, WE SAW THE BEST OF EVERY NATION!

Could or should we have had a larger group marching? Yes!! But it would not have been our best.

As we prepare for the games to start, we may have just witnessed earlier the beginning of an era. One dresses in a golden wob dwiyet walking calmly tonight but soon racing for the Gold.

Tonight we looked and saw the future of our country. And if Luan represents that, then we are indeed in for a bright one.

If the athletes match the effort of the organizers, the world will probably witness the greatest sporting event over the two weeks.

For tonight the glory shines on London

Darwin Telemaque
Caribbean Sports Connection
for the Dominica Olympic Committee
with the Compliments of Lime