media_artricles :: 2016
TO RUN OR NOT TO RUN
Five-time Olympic finalist Thompson mulls track futureKwame Laurence :: Trinidad Express :: 22.08.2016
Richard "Torpedo" Thompson is mulling over his future in athletics. Thompson anchored Trinidad and Tobago to seventh spot in the Rio 2016 men's 4x100 metres final, at the Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium here in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday. The team, though, was subsequently disqualified for a lane violation on the final handover, between Emmanuel Callender and Thompson.
The sprint relay championship race brought the curtain down on Thompson's third, and perhaps last, Olympic campaign. The 31-year-old track star is one of just three T&T athletes to appear in as many as five Olympic finals, joining Edwin Roberts and Ato Boldon in the elite club.
Between 1964 and 1972, Roberts competed in two 200m and three 4x400m finals. He captured double bronze at the '64 Games in Tokyo, Japan, finishing third in the half-lap event and teaming up with Edwin Skinner, Kent Bernard and 400m silver medallist Wendell Mottley for third in the 4x4.
Boldon was a double sprint bronze medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Four years later, in Sydney, Australia, he earned silver in the 100 and bronze in the 200. And then, at the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece, Boldon combined with Nicconnor Alexander, Marc Burns and Darrel Brown for seventh spot in the 4x100m final—the very last race of his career.
Thompson seized double silver at Beijing 2008, finishing second to Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt in the 100m, and joining forces with Keston Bledman, Burns and Callender for the runner-up spot in the 4x1. At London 2012, Thompson was sixth in the 100m final, and then anchored the same T&T quartet to sprint relay silver—an upgrade from bronze following the disqualification of United States as a result of Tyson Gay's anti-doping violation.
Here in Rio, the "Torpedo" exited the individual 100m event in the first round, but teamed up with Bledman, Rondel Sorrillo and Callender to secure his fifth Olympic Games championship race berth.
Thompson, who also picked up 4x1 silver with Brown, Burns and Callender at the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany, told the Express he is pleased with his global achievements in the sport, but must now do an assessment to ascertain whether he will continue.
"This is my fifth Olympic final. To me, that is a blessing in itself—to live what I dreamt about as a little boy, running in front of millions of people under the bright lights, in front of the rest of the world. I've had great moments. Three of those five finals, I was a medallist.
"God is great. He's always great. So regardless of what the future holds for me, I give thanks and praise for what I have, and not negative or ungrateful for what I don't. I just need to go home with my wife and my son and spend some time with them, re-evaluate what the future holds for me," Thompson ended, "and see if I want to come back for 2017 and beyond."
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OFF AND RUNNING: Trinidad and Tobago's Richard Thompson, right, and Jamaica's Usain Bolt compete in the 100-metre qualification rounds at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the recently-concluded Rio Olympics. –Photo: AP