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Golden Girls Inspire Olympic Hopefuls

On the eve of Mother’s Day (2010), Bahamian Olympic gold medalists, Pauline Davis-Thompson and Eldece Clarke-Lewis deposited nuggets of precious advice to gymnasts aspiring to blaze the trail in their sport. The Motivation and Nutritional Seminar was hosted by Bahamas Gymnastics Parent Booster Club in conjunction with Bahamas Star Gymnastics at the Conference Room of Bahamas Financial Services Board. Special guests included Mrs. Claudia Kretschmer, GymAmerica, Saline Michigan who attended via webcam technology and Mr. Miles Yallop, Ministry of Sports Liaison officer with responsibility for gymnastics.


By simply re-telling their story of the grunt work en route to the glory of winning their medals, Davis-Thompson and Clarke-Lewis lifted the hopes and aspirations of the gymnasts. The duo who both share a common thread of humble beginnings, emphasized goal setting, making the right choice of positive friends and influences, discipline, dedication, determination, perseverance and prayer as ingredients to achieving their ultimate goals. The gymnasts all listened attentively as they assimilated the advice from the pair of Bahamian heroes who reiterated that achievement begins with mental focus and hard work. Davis-Thompson underscored that the skills honed for athletics pay dividends later as lifestyle skills for success. She cited that research has proven that the majority of Fortune 500 top executives were former athletes.

They encouraged that athletes must be disciplined in the choice of foods not only to improve their performance, to heal quickly after injuries but to develop healthy habits which will curb the negative trends in the onset of lifestyle diseases plaguing our nation.

Honesty Pays
The young gymnasts were warned against the use of substances to enhance performance or cheating. Davis-Thompson took the occasion to explain why the IOC will visit the Bahamas on June 10 to award her a medal 10 years later which was originally won by Marion Jones of the USA. The message to stay clean, work hard and achieve results honestly resonated with the families after Davis-Thompson shared her personal experience. Clarke-Lewis pointed out that honesty is rewarded particularly as her former team mate, after 28 years and 5 Olympic games, now holds 4 distinctions: 1st Bahamian Olympic track gold medal, first individual Olympic track medal, first double Olympic gold champion and 1st female Olympian to medal for the Bahamas.

The gymnasts will have a chance to put all of the advice to good use starting this summer with the opening of a new 5,000 square feet training facility and the launch of the 1st Annual Bahamas Summer Camp which will be conducted by ten US based clinicians.

Bahamas Gymnastics Parent Booster Club "(BGPBC") in conjunction with Bahamas Star Gymnastics ("BSG") organized a certification course with USA Gymnastics University. A team of ten persons travelled to Ann Arbor, Michigan where the Professional Development Certification Program was conducted November 1-2. As a result, the Bahamas now boasts some of its first certified coaches in the sport of gymnastics. Claudia Kremtscher and Brian Zook, owner and head coach respectively of GymAmerica in Ann Arbor were the course instructors. Both instructors have over 20 years of coaching, facilitating and instruction in gymnastics.

The course covered Level 1-4 skills development, sports psychology, coaching 101, event rotations on uneven bars, balanced beam, vault, floor exercise, spotting and tumbling clinics. The 12 hour course is mandatory for member gyms of USA Gymnastics, the governing body of gymnastics in the United States and it is hoped that eventually the Bahamas will adopt parallel standards to ensure the safety of athletes and the proper progressive coaching in the sport.

Among the participants were Vernon Rodgers, a former gymnast and current coach of Bahamas Star Gymnastics. Also in attendance was Tenille Thompson a fifteen year old gymnast and level 7 member of BSG's competitive squad. Other attendees from BGPBC were Samuel Strachan, President, Anishka Wallace Vice President and Travel Manager, Andrea Knowles, PR Officer, Dr. Anita Dean, Secretary, Rufus Swann, Treasurer, Eleanor Johnson, Chaplain, and Nicola Thompson, Consultant.

Bahamas Star Gymnastics will be participating in this year's FAMfest over the weekend of November 13-14. Members of the public can stop in at their booth to obtain additional information about their program. BSG plans to organize many more courses in collaboration with the parent club, BGPBC, to empower and educate its athletes, parents and support group with the goal of attaining world class training, facilities and results. Click here to view News Paper clips