Few people anywhere would claim ignorance of Jamaica's prowess in global athletics. The heroics of people like Bolt, Blake, Powell and Fraser-Pryce are the stuff of lore.
Only a handful, other than those in the administration of international athletics, and keen on the grubby details of how Jamaica arrived at where it is, might have heard of Neville 'Teddy' McCook.
That is a shame. For we dare say that Bolt et al would not have been possible without the likes of McCook.
Teddy McCook died this week at the age of 73 after a protracted battle with prostate cancer and diverticulitis. It was the end of an extended run on behalf of Jamaican and international athletics.
At the time of his death, Mr McCook was president of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Council of the IAAF, the global athletics body. He was also secretary general of the Jamaica Olympic Association.
For a dozen years, up to 1996, he was head of Jamaican athletics and, prior to that, served the association in several capacities. He is credited with founding the annual Gibson Relays.
Indeed, as the IAAF president Lamine Diack put it, Teddy McCook was "a tireless administrator at the national and international level". This should neither be overlooked nor taken for granted.
The larger point is, the Bolts, the Asafa Powells, their predecessors and successors didn't merely decide that they would turn up at the Olympics or the Golden League circuit and break records. They were first nurtured by a domestic athletics infrastructure administered by Teddy McCook and others.
That system notwithstanding, Jamaica's lack of economic resources is acknowledged to have produced among the best in the world. For this, Teddy McCook deserves substantial credit. For he was at the centre of the initial modernisation of Jamaica's athletic administration.
Like all persons in authority, Teddy McCook did not always please everyone. He had many critics. That goes with the territory. But in the athletics fraternity, respect for him was universal.
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