Thanks, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie
Published: Sep 30, 2013
Firstly, it is appropriate to congratulate Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, who earlier this month was hired to serve as assistant coach of male and female sprinters at the University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
This is yet another chapter in the glorious career of the most decorated athlete in the history of sports in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The 37-year-old is one of the best female sprinters in world track history, and she has indicated that the competitive phase of her career is not quite over.
So yes, she will compete again. Although at a conflicting time for her, given the responsibilities at Southern Miss, hopefully the 2014 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relay Championships will be graced by Ferguson-McKenzie’s presence in Bahamian competitive attire.
Whatever the case however, Debbie, thanks! You’re on the final leg of one of the great competitive runs of all-time.
What has made Ferguson-McKenzie so very special is her humble character, despite being an ultra elite performer of long-standing. Unlike others of her competitive ilk, Ferguson-McKenzie never felt the world began and stopped with her.
She has always been approachable and possesses incredible goodwill. One of my special memories that clearly demonstrated the quality of the lady was of an evening in Athens, Greece. We were there for the 2004 Olympics. I had just returned from a full day at the stadium and was getting a bite to eat in the cafeteria at the Olympic Village.
Ferguson-McKenzie had just completed her meal, and we spoke briefly in greeting as she headed back to The Bahamas’ quarters. About five minutes later, she came running back to inform of a telephone call that came in for me. That was so gracious of her.
How often would a prime time athlete be that kind and helpful?
Such is the character of Ferguson-McKenzie. We are so very fortunate in this country of ours, that fate allowed her to pass this way. As a result, she brought, glory, honor and immense pride to fellow Bahamians.
Ferguson captured an individual gold medal at every regional and international level, with the exception of the Olympic Games, her best effort being the 2004 bronze medal in the 200 meters. She is a former world champion over the half lap. In the sprint relays, she has won gold and silver Olympic medals plus gold and bronze at the world championships. The aforementioned are but highlights of a career in which she has won 50 medals for her country, 27 of them as a senior athlete.
Debbie, thanks very much!
Best wishes as you begin a new journey, at Southern Miss, and hopefully a blazing end to a magnificent career is around the corner.
Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, a nation is indebted to you.
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com
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