Aug 06, 2020 Sports Comments Off on 40th Anniversary of Guyana’s lone Olympic Medal
And still no honour for Mike Parris
By Sean Devers
Sixty-two-year-old Michael Anthony Parris is only Boxer from the English-speaking Caribbean to win an Olympic Medal and is still the only Guyana to do so and today is the 40th Anniversary of that tremendous achievement.
But the still very active Parris says there is little to celebrate Guyana’s only Olympic Medal although it feels like yesterday when he won the Bronze Medal on August 6, 1980 in Moscow.
It was four decades ago in the cold conditions of the former Soviet Union that a proud Parris stood on the Medal Podium and heard Guyana’s National Anthem being played.
“Being chosen to represent Guyana at the Olympics was the most memorable moment of my life. Being the first Guyanese to win an Olympic Medal was the icing on the cake,” an emotional Parris told Kaiteur sports from his Shirley Fields Riddley home yesterday.
The National Sporting Ambassador says he has ignored by all elected Governments after the death of President Forbes Burnham but is hopeful that this might change with a new Government being elected.
“A few years ago I went to a senior Government official in the Sports Ministry and asked for a duty-free concession to buy a car. I did not get the duty-free concession and at times I feel what I did for my country has been forgotten even by some in the sports fraternity,” lamented Parris who is a Taxi driver.
In 1980, the United States led a boycott of the Summer Olympic Games in Moscow to protest the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan but 80 countries sent athletes including Guyana who sent an eight-member team.
Parris recounted that leading up to the Olympics there was a lot of work, determination, hard training and sacrifice.
“We were encamped for a few weeks in the GDF compound under the watchful eyes of the late Courtney Atherly, Ashton Angel and a few other Coaches.
The climatic conditions in Moscow were different to what we were accustomed to but because of my ambition and determination to win at the Olympics I did not allow that to affect me.
I came up with a strategy to stay indoors and exercise in an AC room so that my body could get accustomed to the cold so I could have adjusted to the conditions there. I did not go to the march-past, I just stayed in my room and trained,” remembered Parris.
“There were so many people, but you would not see anyone from Guyana. Security was tight. Everywhere you went there were soldiers.”
On the road to his Bronze Medal Parris got past Nigerian Nureni Gbadamosi, a boxer from the US Virgin Islands and Mexican Daniel Zaragoza. In the Semi-finals he was beaten by Cuban Juan Hernandez in very competitive bout.
“The feeling of standing on the podium was unexplainable. It was a great achievement…my emotions were all over the place. I felt very proud to be the first Olympic Medalist from my Country Guyana.
Just standing there and seeing the Guyana flag in the air. I think I got cold sweat from joy, and seeing so many people…I don’t think I could get that feeling again.
The Olympics changed my life in so many ways. I was able to return to my County as a proud Champion. I was more recognised, respected and acknowledged for my hard work,” explained Parris, the 1980 National Sportsman of the year.
But all the adulation soon came to a screeching halt after the demise of President Burnham.
Parris still hopes that he will be recognised by the Government for his remarkable achievement in Moscow four decades ago.
If not, it would be a terrible shame and add fuel to the claims that since President Burnham died none of the other Governments are interested in the welfare of outstanding former Guyanese Sportspersons or the development of Sports in Guyana.
Sep 18, 2020Guyanese Vivian Harris owns Restaurant in Florida By Sean Devers One of six boxers to win world titles for Guyana including the two females, Shondell Alfred and Gwendoline O’Neil, 42 year-old...
Sep 18, 2020
Sep 17, 2020
Sep 17, 2020
Sep 16, 2020
Sep 16, 2020
There is a letter in yesterday’s Stabroek News that all young scholars need to study and importantly contextualize the... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Once again, Guyana is causing regional and international worry following two sets of killings of young... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]