President of the National Associations of Athletics Administrations (NAAA), Ephraim Serrette, yesterday described Lalonde Gordon’s bronze medal success in the 400 metres at the Olympic Games as a tribute to perseverance and noted that Gordon was one of the young athletes who was never afraid to seek advise. Serrette who was present at the Olympic Stadium in London to see Gordon win T&T’s first medal, said the performance was inspirational, considering that not many gave the young Tobago athlete a chance of medalling before the Games. ”It was a wonderful performance. He has made us all very proud. He worked hard to reach where he is now and tonight he got the reward and also well rewarded us with our first medal.”  Serrette said after speaking with Hasely Crawford, who won T&T’s only Olympic gold medal, both agreed that Gordon’s semi final run put him right in line for a medal. “He was running on strong at the end of the contest and almost got the silver medal, as Santos was tiring up, it was a brave and wonderful effort. He has further raised the hearts in the camp and made us all smile again,” stated Serrette.
Gordon is the second T&T athlete to medal over 400 metres at the Olympics for T&T, following in the footsteps of Wendell Mottley, who won a silver medal in the 1964 at the Tokyo Olympics. Serrette revealed that Gordon has been around the team for the past two years and has always shown the heart and desire to succeed. “He is not afraid to listen and learn and the rest of the team get along well with him.”   He said that despite the pressure on him, Gordon rose to the occasion. “Many were talking about medals on Monday. We had none when he went out so it must have been a weight on his shoulders but he delivered. He never allowed that to bother or affect him. It was the performance of his young lifetime,” noted Serrette. Serrette was optimistic about T&T’s chances in the 4 x 400 metres relay. “Even though Renny Quow is now out of the Olympics with an injury, the other young guys like Gordon, will have been inspired by this performance and they will be ready to go after another medal in a few days time,” said Serrette.
Several of his teammates paid tribute to Gordon. Richard Thompson described him as a crazy character. “He can either run a su-44 or 45-plus. He is just so different and says all kind of things, but with good intentions. He is  very talented. We are not surprised by his performances.” His manager Dexter Voisin said the night before everyone was asking “Where this Trinidadian came from.” Voison said that after the semi finals, all of the other 400 metres runners were talking about him. “What makes LaLonde so dangerous is that he is not one of those athletes who  thinks long and hard about anything. He just goes out and does his stuff,” added Voisin. Gordon  first represented T&T at the CAC Games in 2010 but did not make it to the World Championships. He now runs for the Zenith Velocity Club of Jersey City. After winning the 400 metres at the National trials in June, when he beat Renny Quow with a storming late surge, Gordon’s time of 45.40 was not good enough to secure a place on the 400 metres individual team for London. However, he responded two weeks later in July, when he ran at a meet in Omaha, Nebraska where he won in a time of 45.02 to book his place in the team.
By Andre E Baptiste