Sporting icons honoured at National Awards
Daniel Wheeler, Gleaner Writer
Nelson 'Chris' Stokes made history in 1988 being a part of the Bobsled team that qualified for Jamaica's first-ever Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada.
Today, he was among an elite class of honourees in sport recognised for their contributions at the National Honours and Awards ceremony at King's House.
Stokes, who now serves as first vice president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, received the Order of Distinction officer class for his contribution to the development of sport in Jamaica.
He credits the lessons learned through sport such as self-sacrifice, hard work and having an appetite for success.
His only desire now is to see more persons flourish.
“Most of the lessons that have helped me in my life I have learned from sport about having ambition, taking whatever little talent you have and making the most of it, about teamwork and doing your part well so that others can be successful,” he told The Gleaner after the ceremony.
He stated that he now gains satisfaction in helping other athletes achieve their dreams as he did.
“My satisfaction is in helping others get good results now and to be able to transition into a successful life after competition,” he said.
“It's good to pause and say that someone noticed that, someone recognised that and has decided to honour me in this way.”
Meanwhile, MVP Track Club president and longtime track and field analyst Bruce James was also honoured with the Order of Distinction for his contribution to athletics.
James was humbled at the fact that his love for the sport and his commitment to its continued success led him to King’s House.
“When I do something I love and when the country decides to thank me for that, I don’t know if I can ask for much more than that,” he said.
“The thanks is really just extra and it means that maybe I have done something right for the past 20 plus years.”
Among the honourees awarded with the Order of Distinction officer class were legendary horse racing commentator Brian ‘Spuddy’ Rickman, Hugh Perry, who was awarded for his contributions to the development of cricket and football, and Llockett McGregor who was honoured for his contribution to tennis.
Margaret Beckford, Jamaica’s first president of Netball Jamaica, was awarded the Order of Distinction Commander Class.
Christopher Dehring, who was one of the key figures of the West Indies' successful bid to host the 2007 Cricket World Cup, was also recognised with the same honour.
Some 215 persons received national honours and awards today.