Brian Lewis

TTOC PRESIDENT: Brian Lewis

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) will kick off the celebration of its 75th anniversary with their participation in the January 24 Trinidad and Tobago Marathon.

Originally formed by Sir Lennox O’Reilly (president 1946-1948) as the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Association (TTOA) in 1946 -- prior to this country’s participation in the March 5-25 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia, that year—the TTOC’s diamond anniversary traces the organisation’s and TTO’s elite sporting journey from a country under British rule through to Independence then onto its current day operations.

But the Covid-19 pandemic and its resultant restrictions on assembly and congregation will complicate the commemoration.

“It’s a big landmark, current president of the TTOC Brian Lewis noted, “75 is always a huge landmark. The challenge or the interesting thing is 2021. The irony of it is had there been no Covid-19, and no re-scheduling of the (Tokyo2020) Olympics, it would have been a non-Olympic year.

“And what would have been on the cards is the Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG). Now we have it in an Olympic year, but even so with Covid, it makes everything kind of low-key and initially everything, it’s hard to plan in a way that you would have normally celebrate the 75th anniversary.”

Besides the quadrennial Olympic Games, the TTOC is the sole body responsible for selection for the CAC Games, Commonwealth Games (CG), Pan American Games, Youth Olympics, Winter Olympics, CYG and Junior Pan Am Games.

Lewis envisions that every event the TTOC hosts or participates in this year (Marathon Walk (#10Golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund, Sport Industry TT, ongoing preparation for Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Tokyo2020 commemorative brochure, Team TTO TV, media, and Team TTO Marketing Limited, etc) will bear the stamp of the 75th anniversary.

“I prefer to say Covid has presented a lot of opportunities. It would have been great to have more certainty, in terms of a home, but there is a huge opportunity. There is a lot to look back on. We have some additional ideas that have to be fully fleshed out in terms of how do we capture 75 years,” said Lewis, adding the Annual Olympic Youth Camp and the TTOC’s Annual Awards Ceremony will also be part of the commemoration. Lewis said among other ideas on the table is a possible commission of a book on the history of the TTOC while the existence of the Covid-19 pandemic almost certainly ensures the preclusion of any gala celebration event. “It is just a different sort of celebration, initially because at the end of the day, 75 years is still 75 years,” Lewis maintained, adding that the TTOC must focus on continuing its growth and development to stay modern and relevant.

Lewis said the significance of attaining such a milestone is huge, tracing back through the history from the first Olympic team that included Rodney Wilkes and Lennox Kilgour through to the over 150 TTO Olympians to date, all of whom are natural landmarks and causes for reflection on the TTOC journey.

“It has been 75 years of dedicated service to T&T. You also have to acknowledge the original affiliates so there is a lot to acknowledge, celebrate, a lot to build on,” Lewis stressed, “More good than bad, more positive than negative, a lot of commitment and dedication by a lot of people...in terms of athletes, coaches, administrators...

“A lot has changed, the society has changed, the environment we operate in has changed, I mean when you hear what athletes had to go through to get to Games, the long journeys and all the different things and issues, we have come a long way.”

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