Olympic Day Message 2016 by Mr. Alphonso E Bridgewater, President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Olympic Committee (SKNOC)


Happy Olympic Day to the St. Kitts and Nevis Olympic Family, partners, associates, friends and supporters!

It is, indeed, another June 23rd—the birth date of the Founding Father of the Modern Day Olympic Movement—Baron Pierre de Coubertin. On this day – or throughout the week or even over the course of the whole month of June—National Olympic Committees (NOC’s) in some 205 countries across all continents, pause to pay tribute to the man, the movement and the messages of olympism.

The activities on which the NOC’s embark throughout their celebrations have as a thematic backdrop the mantra: “Move, Learn and Discover”. In the words of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Bach, the intention envisaged through this mantra is to get the “couch potatoes to off the couch.” There is an unmistakable connection with the world wide concerns about health issues, particularly, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD’s,) and the lack of movement, the lack of exercise and a generally inactive lifestyle. The research is convincing with respect to the positive co-relations between an active life style and the prevention, delay or effective management of a variety of illnesses.


On the local scene, the celebratory activities include:

  • A Dance Gala at the Circus, Basseterre. A different yet refreshing introduction into the events calendar staged on Saturday, 18th June.
  • You are witnessing the reading of Messages to commemorate the occasion from IOC President Bach, read by Yosuf Saunders, a member of the National U-23 Football National Football Team; and from the President of the SKNOC.
  • Launch of the revamped SKNOC Website: www.sknoc.org
  • On Saturday 25th June, at 4 pm, there will be the Executive Relay. The intention here is to coax executives and desk-bound individuals away from their desks to take part in a healthy jog as part PRESIDENT: Alphonso E. Bridgewater VICE PRESIDENT: Dennis Knight SECRETARY GENERAL: Glenville Jeffers TREASURER: Glenn Quinlan ASSISTANT SECRETARY GENERAL: Leroy Greene Olympic House No. 18 Taylors Range P.O. Box 953 ST. KITTS, W.I. TEL: (869) 465-6601 FAX: (869) 465-8321 E-MAIL: sknoc@sisterisles.kn 2 of a relay team. The circuit will see the participants starting at the Anglican Church, at the top of Church and Cayon Streets. The first hand-off will take place at the junction of Church and Central Streets; the second, at the bottom of Church Street and Liverpool Row; the third at the end of Liverpool Row in the Circus area; the fourth at the junction of Fort and Central Streets; the fifth at the top of Fort and Cayon Streets; the sixth at the Corner of Cayon Street and West Independence Square Street; the seventh at the junction of West Independence Square Street and Bank Street; the eighth and final hand-off at the Berkley Memorial in the Circus.
  • On Sunday, June 26th at 4:30 pm, the Annual Olympic Day Run will take place. The run starts at the Olympic House on Taylor’s Range and makes it way towards the Zion Moravian Church, turning left into Victoria Road. On reaching what is locally referred to as the “Traffic’—i.e. the junction of Victoria Road, Cayon and Fort Streets—one section of the participants will turn left behind the Olympic Flag and the other section will turn right behind the National Flag. The section that turned left will make its way towards the Basseterre Police Station along Cayon Street and turn right onto West Independence Square Street, turning right at the bottom unto Irish Town Bay Road and head to the finish point, in the secured area immediately in front of Ram’s Supermarket and Port Zante area. The section which turned right will continue westwards along Cayon Street and turn left into Church Street and left again, into Liverpool Row, moving towards the Circus where the runners will turn right into Fort Street, going past the Royal Bank, and turn left onto Irish Town Bay Road, immediately opposite the National Museum, before heading to the finish line as indicated earlier.
  • Once the Olympic Day Run is over, there will be a variety of movement, learning and discovering taking place as people become engaged in a combination of activities and games (including 5-aside netball, 3 X 3 basketball, bocce, etc.)-dubbed the “Street Games Festival”.
  • To balance off the activities indicated above, there will also be the spiritual component in the form of the traditional corporate worship experience. This year, the Olympic Family will join the congregation at the Wesley Methodist Church, Seaton Street, Basseterre, at 9am, on Sunday 26th June.


At this very moment, we are less than 45 days away from the Opening Ceremony of the XXX1 (31st) Edition of the Summer Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (5th—21st, August 2016). TEAM SKN will be competing in the Athletics (track and Field) discipline only. The Beach Volleyballers failed to make the qualification mark—this time around–against the likes of the USA, Canada, Mexico and Cuba.

The expectation is that some 7 or more athletes may qualify for athletics. Qualifying standards have already been achieved in the 100 metres, 200 metres and the 4X100 metre relay males and the 200 metres female.

We continue to monitor the situation concerning health and other concerns in Brazil and shall be guided by the counsel and advisories of the relevant authorities so as to ensure the safety and security of athletes and officials of TEAM SKN.

As a general point worthy of note, athletes desirous of being a part of TEAM SKN should be reminded that “compliance with the SKNOC Code of Ethics is a prerequisite to participation in Games” and 3 Competitions held under the auspices of the SKNOC. The SKNOC code of ethics/conduct mirror those of the IOC and the Host Organizers. Breach of these codes by athletes and/or officials open up the SKNOC to serious and significant penalties.

As another general point worthy of note, athletes should bear in mind that the guidelines set by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), namely, “achieving the entry standard does not guarantee participation in the Games; the final decision will be taken by the SKNOC”.


Moving on to another matter related to the Rio Olympic Games, the 26 plus National Olympic Committees (NOC’s) of the Caribbean—referred to as the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) got together and formed a company known as CANOC Broadcasting Inc. This company was established primarily to ensure that the Caribbean region gets access to far more coverage and footage, than is the norm, re its participating athletes and interests at the Olympic Games. How often, do we witness major sports networks carrying the Games, use the very moment when our respective Caribbean athletes are entering the stadium at the Opening Ceremony, to go to the commercial break? Our athletes may make it to finals, achieve phenomenal feats but fail to make it to the podium. That does not mean that they do not have a story to tell. CANOC Broadcasting Inc. is expected to capture such moments—featuring more Caribbean athletes, stories, interviews and human interest developments. ZIZ TV is identified as the partner station locally for such coverage. The major partner station is ESPN.

I am aware that there may have been some original concerns as to whether the equipment would have been available locally to make the broadcast links possible. I understand that is well on the way to resolution.


TEAM SKN athletes would have another opportunity to sharpen their skills or seek qualification standard over the week end of July 1-4, 2016. On this weekend, the athletes will participate in the ANOCES Athletic Championship in Tortola (BVI). ANOCES is the acronym for the Association of National Olympic Committees of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). ANOCES joined with its partner, the OECS athletic Congress (OAC) to introduce the games to fill a “gaping void in high level competition in the sub-region whilst simultaneously showcasing elite athletes to admiring, adoring fans on home soil”.


The SKNOC is happy to report that its Olympic Bus was launched into service last November 2015. Thanks to its partners at IOC/Olympic Solidarity and associated sponsors.


Work is well advanced on the publication of the 2016-2020 SKNOC Strategic Plan. The intention is to have a final version of the plan ready for adoption prior to the end of September 2016.


4 The SKNOC was happy to be able to convene a meeting with a number of National Federations seeking membership to the SKNOC and to go through with them as a group the streamlined and revised protocol for applying for membership. Present at this meeting were representatives from the National Sailing Association, Shooting, Triathlon.


The SKNOC heartily congratulates all athletes who have made the performance qualification mark for the Olympic Games and await word re selection to TEAM SKN for the Rio 2016 Olympics. Congratulations are further in order for the Senior Male Football Team (The Sugar Boys) for their continuous march through the qualifying stages of the CFU Competition. The U-23 National Football team is also worthy of commendation for its recent victories against Jamaica and Dominica whilst playing in a group which also included the home team the Dominican Republic.

I encourage the efforts in the resurgence of boxing by some devout boxing enthusiasts. It is my hope that boxing will progress to the point that SKN will be creditably represented by the 2018 Commonwealth Games.


I dare not end without extending sincerest thanks and appreciation to the IOC/Olympic Solidarity for its phenomenal and timely support for all the various SKNOC programmes, technical, financial and developmental support. The Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) accounts for the provision of significant proportions of the funding as well. The other benefactor of note is the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

It is from these three primary benefactors that the SKNOC receives its funding that allows it to service the needs and stimulate the aspirations of its member federations. Just by way of example, over the last four (4) years a total of some two million (EC$ 2,000,000.00) was spent to provide support of one form or the other to Netball, Basket Ball, Football, Volleyball, Track and Field (Athletics) etc.

In July, 1996, SKN participated in its very first Olympic Games–the Centenary Games in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. On the eve of the Rio 2016 Games, many memories abound of that christening experience. TEAM SKN made it to the quarter finals in its very first outing. Michael Johnson eclipsed the 200 and 400 metre records at the very same Games. But the most enduring memory for me is the strange sense of awe that enveloped the stadium as the indomitable figure of Muhammed Ali made his appearance to set ablaze the Olympic Flame in much the same way as he had set ablaze the entire sports kingdom for decades.

“The Greatest” departed this life weeks ago. As I bid you all, happy Olympic Day, as I encourage some of you to get off the couch and commit to ” move, learn and discover- I am reminded of a comment inspired by thoughts on the celebration of Ali’s stewardship, and quite fitting for the moment, and as a lasting message: “consequence is no coincidence”.

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