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History-making Olympian Cynthia Thompson passes away

Published:Friday | March 8, 2019 | 5:44 PM

Trailblazing Jamaican Olympian Dr Cynthia Thompson passed away on Friday at the University Hospital of the West Indies.

She was 96 years-old.

Thompson had been ailing for a while and has spent the last few days in hospital.

Thompson was one of four females, who represented Jamaica at the country's first Olympic Games in 1948 in London.

She went one step further, becoming the first Jamaican woman to qualify for the final of an Olympic event, when she secured a spot in the 100m final. She also made it to the 200m semi-finals, after setting an Olympic record in the heats.

After athletics, Thompson became a successful paediatrician, before retiring in 2000.

President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, Dr Warren Blake, underlined her contribution to Jamaica's rich track and field heritage and noted that she would be missed.

"Her contributions to Jamaica's athletics are stellar. She may not have won any Olympic medals, but she was one of our first female Olympians and was part of that first trip to the London Olympics in 1948. The trip to England in those days was not a trip by air, but by sea and that trip took a toll to her - of course not everyone does well on the sea and so she was seasick for the entire time and lost quite a bit of weight," said Blake.

"That affected her performance as she also was not able to do much exercises on the ship. Her times going into the Olympics were as good as, if not better than the other competitors. She was not able to win or medal, which was expected of her, but she helped to lay the foundation. She remained active in track and field and was a great supporter of the federation. She will be sorely missed," Blake added.