Grange, Neita, Samuda hail Dr Cynthia Thompson
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange has expressed her sadness at the passing of Olympian Dr Cynthia Thompson.
In a statement on Friday night, Grange said Dr Thompson’s death represented the end of an era.
“I am very sad at the passing of Dr Cynthia Thompson. On this day when we celebrated our women and their achievement, Cynthia Thompson was in our hearts.
“Over the course of her remarkable, long, and successful life, this wonderful woman served us in many ways. She came to prominence as a trailblazer in women’s sport when she represented Jamaica at the 1948 Olympics and made the finals of the 100 metres. She finished sixth, but she won a bigger prize: that of inspiring countless Jamaican athletes who followed that they could do as much and more.
“At 96, Dr Thompson – who served for many years as a paediatrician – was Jamaica’s oldest Olympian. Her passing represents the end of an era,” Grange said.
Opposition Spokesperson on Sports Natalie Neita also paid tribute to Dr Thompson.
Neita, in reflecting on the life of Thompson said: “Phenomenal, trailblazing, trendsetting are just some of the words that come to mind when reflecting on the life of this extraordinary Jamaican. Dr Thompson competed for us at our very first Olympics and though she didn’t win a medal, she holds the enviable record of being the first Jamaican woman to qualify for the finals of an event at the Olympics, and the first Jamaican woman to break an Olympic record.”
In highlighting the grit and dexterity of Dr Cynthia Thompson, Neita added that in those times, the athletes from Jamaica travelled to the Olympics by sea, a journey that lasted for two weeks, and Dr Thompson was seasick, and it is understood that she was throwing up every day and lost a considerable amount of weight.
“The fact that she still competed after such an ordeal only went to further highlight the strength that she possessed and the burning desire that existed to represent her country,” Neita said.
Christopher Samuda, the president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, in his tribute, said that Thompson was a pioneer who opened the door in track and field so that others could enter.
“We respected her with unqualified admiration for with such humility, she walked this mortal Earth with immortal values. We loved her, for she was sacrificial in fulfilling her duty to her country and embraced sport with deep emotion and sincerity,” Samuda said.