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Olympic ticket sales off to a good start

KELSIE JOHNSON
Guardian Sports Reporter
kelsie@nasguard.com

Published: Dec 23, 2011

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President of the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) Wellington Miller is pleased with how fast the tickets, being sold in The Bahamas, for next year's Olympic Games are moving.

Miller said more than 60 percent of the tickets are sold, and he is expecting an increase in sales next year as the games approach. Miller and members of his executive board hosted representatives from Cartan Tours, the official ticket vendors for the games for four days in June this year. This was the official opening for ticket sales in the country.

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games will be held in London, July 27-August 12. The quadrennial games, which feature more than 35 sports attract athletes from over 200 countries. The Bahamas first participated at the Olympic Games in 1952 and is expected to field a strong team next year.

The first Olympic medal was won at the 1956 Melbourne Games, in sailing. Sir Durward Knowles and Sloane Farrington captured a bronze medal in the Star Class event. At the 1964 Olympic Games, which were held in Tokyo, Knowles teamed with Cecil Cooke and sailed on to gold.

Some 30 years later, Frank Rutherford hopped, skipped and jumped his way onto the medal podium winning the country's first medal of any color in athletics (track and field) after attaining independence. The leap of 17.36 meters in the men's triple jump, at the 1992 Barcelona Games, gave Rutherford the bronze. The gold and silver medals in the event were won by Mike Conley and Charles Simpkins of the United States with marks of 18.17m and 17.60m respectively.

The medal haul continued for The Bahamas at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. The 4x100m team, which included Debbie Ferguson, now McKenzie, Eldece Clarke-Lewis, Savetheda Fynes, Chandra Sturrup and Pauline Davis-Thompson crossed the line in 42.14 seconds and won the silver medal. The United States captured the gold and Jamaica the bronze.

Some four years later, at the Sydney Games, the group of ladies ran on to gold. This was the first Olympic gold for The Bahamas in athletics. The time, 41.95 seconds gave the ladies the win over Jamaica and the United States who were second and third respectively. Davis-Thompson would finish second at the games in the 200m, but was later upgraded to the gold after American Marion Jones was stripped.

Two medals were won in the following games in Athens. Shocking the world was Tonique Williams-Darling in the women's 400m. She jetted past Ana Guevara of Mexico to win the gold in 49.41 seconds. The time was also a new national record. Guevara's time was 49.56 seconds. Natalya Antyukh of Russia crossed the line 49.89 seconds. National record holder in the 200m, Ferguson-McKenzie placed third in the women's 200m in 22.30 seconds.

Leevan Sands won the only individual medal of the 2008 Beijing Games, in the men's triple jump. His best at that time was 17.59m. The men's 4x400m team secured the silver in the event, clocking 2:58.03 seconds. The gold went to the United States and bronze to Russia. The men's team was comprised of Andretti Bain, Michael Mathieu, Andrea Williams, Chris Brown, Ramon Miller and Avard Moncur.

Overall, the country has collected 10 Olympic medals four gold, two silver and four bronze. Eight medals were won in athletics and two in sailing. Even though medals were only won in two disciplines, the country has participated in more sports such as swimming, tennis and boxing.

Athletes have qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games in swimming, tennis and athletics with boxing and beach volleyball pending.

The men's beach volleyball team will compete in the third round of play in February next year. They will need to finish in the top five to move onto the final round for the Caribbean. As far as boxing is concerned, the two amateur boxers will hit the ring next year hoping to land that qualifying punch.

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