|Raymond Tucker honored by the CAC|
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Jan 17, 2012
Raymond Tucker is one of those athletes who just keeps going and going.
He was honored by the local bodybuilding federation three years ago, and finally got his flowers on the regional stage last year as he competed in his 24th straight Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Amateur Bodybuilding & Fitness Championships. Tucker, now 50, is the most decorated competitor in the history of the championships with 15 gold medals, 10 silver and 10 bronze. There were times when he won as many as three medals at a single event, competing in his weight class, masters and mixed pairs.
Last year during the 39th annual championships in El Salvador, the CAC decided to recognize Tucker for his accomplishments over the years. He was recommended by Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBFF) President Danny Sumner, who also serves as the Senior Vice President of the CAC region.
“I am humbled that they would recognize me in this fashion,” said Tucker. “I’ve won so many medals over the past 20-plus years and it’s good to be recognized for your accomplishments. Danny was instrumental in me getting the award, and for that, I am extremely grateful. They decided that they are going to do it every year for deserving individuals, but it’s an honor to be the first one. No other Caribbean athlete has been given this award so I feel good about being the first,” he added.
Tucker competed in his first International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) CAC Championships in 1988 in Curacao. He is the longest serving competitor at that level, and is still competing today. Five years ago in Kingston, Jamaica, he became the oldest competitor to win three medals at a single CAC Championships when he brought home a gold and two silvers. That same year, he along with bantamweight competitor Paul Wilson competed at the world championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic, becoming the first Bahamians in 10 years to compete at that level.
“I just love competing for my country,” said Tucker. “As an athlete, if you do not have the love for your country first and foremost, you will not give 100 percent when you are competing, and that’s across the board in any sport. You have to love your country first of all. Also, I do it just to stay healthy. That’s one of the reasons why me and ‘Butts’ Outten are still competing, and to be doing it for so many years naturally, is fulfilling. When you’re doing it without the help of performance-enhancing drugs it gives you a sense of pride and a sense of accomplishment. It also encourages others to stay fit as well. When they see that I am getting up there in age and still competing, it gives them motivation to stay active. Also, I feel like it’s a gift from God and I can’t just let it go just like that.”
Tucker’s most productive division at the CAC level was the mixed pairs division. Over the years, he won six gold medals in mixed pairs with Della Thomas, and another five with Gena Mackey. He also won numerous medals in the men’s middleweight and men’s masters divisions. Last year in El Salvador, Tucker returned with a silver medal in the men’s welterweight division. The oldest member of the team, Sydney ‘Butts’ Outten, at age 60, brought home a fifth place finish in the men’s super heavyweight division.
“I just want to thank the federation for sticking by me all these years. Danny and all the other executives, and National Coach Stephen Robinson are always there to offer words of encouragement. I also want to thank my wife and kids, the media, my sponsors, BEC (Bahamas Electricity Corporation), and the general public for supporting me all these years. The words of encouragement that I always receive make [me] feel comfortable and happy to compete and represent The Bahamas,” said Tucker.
Federation president Sumner said that he was proud to be a part of such a historic and significant moment for the sport of bodybuilding in The Bahamas.
“It was an outstanding achievement for Tucker who has been competing at the CAC level for so many years,” said Sumner. “This is something that was unanimously done. That goes to show how respected he is in the CAC region. The administrators respect him, and coaches and athletes from other countries respect him as well. We felt that someone like a Raymond Tucker deserves to be recognized in some fashion. He has always been an excellent bodybuilder. He is one of those bodybuilders who everyone looks up to.
“Also, as a person, he has always been a gentleman. I have never had a problem with him. He always quietly goes about doing his job. Tucker is an inspiration to other people. He is always there helping the other athletes, and as a result, I had no problem recommending him for this award. The people in the CAC saw his hard work and dedication and decided to honor him in this fashion.”
This year’s CAC Bodybuilding & Fitness Championships will be held in Puerto Rico. Tucker, who has competed in more than half of the championships, plans to be back again. His name is a household name in the sport throughout the Caribbean, and he is well respected and well loved by everyone affiliated with the sport.