‘It can’t be about medals,’ says CIOC president

Lara Butler swam a national record in the 100m backstroke

The Cayman Islands, like many other countries, will leave the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro without any medals. However, the president of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee (CIOC) doesn’t feel the trip to South America was a total loss.

CIOC President Donald McLean

CIOC President Donald McLean

“I think they have done quite well,” Donald McLean said of Cayman’s athletes who competed at the games. “Three of them are quite young athletes [and] this is their first Olympics,” he said during an interview with ESPN Caribbean on Saturday, 13 August.

Sailor Florence Allan, along with swimmers Lara and Geoffrey Butler made their Olympic debuts in Rio. Allan is 18, while Geoffrey Butler is 20, a year younger than his sister, Lara. Hurdler Sprinter Kemar Hyman, 26, made his second appearance, while Ronald Forbes, 31, made his third trip to the Olympics.

“We are a very small [Local Olympic Committee] and we haven’t won any medals and we don’t have any medal aspirations [at] these Games but it’s important that they come and compete and experience the whole Olympic movement,” McLean said.

It can’t be about medals,” the CIOC boss said. “Less than 10 percent of the athletes that compete win medals. It’s all about bringing the countries together.”

Geoffrey Butler

Geoffrey Butler

Geoffrey Butler was the first Caymanian athlete to compete at the Games. He won his heat in the men’s 400m freestyle but was not among the fastest swimmers overall and did not advance.

Allan finished last in the women’s laser radial event, having been forced to brave rough conditions as the youngest competitor in the field.

Kemar Hyman and Ronald Forbes both failed to advance past the heats in their events, the 100m and 110m hurdles respectively.

Florence Allan made her Olympic debut on 8 Aug.

Florence Allan made her Olympic debut on 8 Aug.

The highlight of the games was Lara Butler setting a Cayman Islands national record in the women’s 100m backstroke with a time of 1 minute 4.98 seconds.

McLean explained that the ideal of the Olympic movement is more about competing than winning.  “It’s extremely important for small countries, like ourselves, to send athletes to games, be it by invitation or by qualification.”

Forbes, Hyman and Allan qualified by meeting the required standards, while the Butler siblings received invitations from the International Olympic Committee to participate in the Rio Games.


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