Will St Lucia be one and done at Olympics?

High-jumper Levern Spender will compete Thursday evening at London Olympics.

On a night when Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt silenced his critics with a record breaking performance in the 100 metres (m), St Lucians were hoping one of their own would also rise to the occasion Sunday night at the 2012 Olympics in London. It didn’t happen.
The fact is, unless world ranked high jumper Levern Spencer reverses the trend Thursday evening in ladies high jump, sadly, it will continue to be one and done for St Lucian athletes at this Olympics.
Swimmer Danielle Beaubrun was St Lucia’s first casualty. She swam the 100 m breaststroke finishing sixth out of eight competitors and did not qualify for the next round. On Sunday Darvin Edwards suffered a similar fate and like Beaubrun, had his 2012 Olympic dream end almost before it got started.
Edwards did not make it past the preliminary round. He bowed out at the opening height of 2.16 m. He was one of three high jumpers competing in the A group consisting of 18 competitors who did not make the grade at 2.16. There were 17 competitors in Group B.
Edwards who entered the competition with a personal best of 2.31m, admitted he should have cleared the opening height. So what happened?
From my vantage point during warm ups, he looked like a man on a mission. He didn’t say so, but I sensed there was added incentive to do well here, after deciding to jump for his native St Lucia instead of Team GB (Great Britain).
As we know things did not go so well. In a recent interview at the Olympic Village, Edwards said: “My performance did not show how much I trained for the Olympics. It was a bit disappointing, but in the same breath I can say it was very educational for me. Competing on that stage was completely different than competing on the world stage because you’re in different environment. It was very challenging for me.”
When asked about his preparation for London 2012, Edwards pointed out he was not as strong or physically fit which undoubtedly contributed to a sup par performance. He was also battling an injury which set him back a bit.
Edwards tried staying away from competitions prior to the Olympics, in hopes of nursing the nagging injury hoping to “wing it off.” It didn’t work, but he felt it was better coming to the Olympics for the experience instead of pulling out.
Edwards who was courted by Team GB, has no regrets about his decision to compete for St Lucia. He said: “I love this island that’s why I came back here to train. Whether it was the British team, French team or anyone that who would ask Darvin Edwards to jump for them, it would be impossible for me to do so because I love St Lucia.”
St Lucia’s multi Sportswoman of the Year and world ranked high jumper, Levern Spencer competes Thursday evening. Based on his recent experience I asked any tips or advice for her?
At first he laughed then said, “I think Levern should be giving me tips.” But on a serious note, he would caution her about keeping warm, being beware of the swirling wind inside the stadium and to remain focused.
Hopefully she will take his advice, move past the preliminary round and not be another casualty of one and done.
In other news, while St Lucians have not yet appeared on the podium, one official got the opportunity to stand extremely close to it. Tuesday evening President of the St Lucia Olympic Committee and IOC member, Richard Peterkin, presented the gold medal to Kirani  James of Grenada who won the 400 metres.

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