First it was the withdrawal of Tameka Williams from the team for her admission to using a substance that may be outside of the circle of items that are allowed by the World Anti- Doping Association.
Then, on Saturday 4th August, the shocking and disappointing news that Kim Collins, the 2003 World Champion, was withdrawn by the St. Kitts and Nevis Olympic team management from participating in the heats for the 100m, and any further part in the Games.
So, as thousands of Kittitians and Nevisians worldwide, sat before their television sets to see their sprint sensation, the only thing they saw was an empty lane 4, but no Kim Collins.
The reason: the sprinter was sanctioned for visiting his wife and family where they were staying in a hotel and was missing from the Athletes Village for some 4 days, turning up on Saturday to begin his campaign in the 100m heats. The team management therefore took the decision to “pull” his accreditation and thereby disqualifying him from the squad. Kim himself used social media channels to announce that he was in fact not going to be running in the Games.
This is partly what he said. “Hours before my 5th 100m Olympic race, I now find out I can’t run, all because I was in a hotel with my wife/coach. S.K.N.O.C REALLY? Are you freakig kiddin me!!!!!!!!”
He announced on Twitter Saturday: “My fans. I won’t lie. Won’t be running later tonight. …For those who saw me run in Mexico. That’s the last time I represent my country.”
Then he followed up by tweeting: “Even men in prison get their wives to visit.”
Collins, 36, was competing in his fifth Olympics and carried the flag for St Kitts & Nevis at the Opening Ceremony.
No matter the circumstances, no matter who is right in this matter, the only loser is the people and nation of St. Kitts and Nevis. Athletics are the only events in which the country participates at the Olympic level and despite its small size it has proven to be giant in competition, just as Kim has demonstrated so many times, and more recently the members of the men’s 4 x 100m relay team. And of course, so has Tameka Williams demonstrated on the world stage in recent months.
The sprints were the events that glued the interest of all nationals to the London Olympics; now all that has been destroyed. A nation has been left in “athletic mourning” for the loss of its potential greatness that could have been highlighted in all its glory, in front of billions via television, and hundreds of thousands live in the stadium.
Now the country will be remembered at these Games for all the wrong reasons; controversy in the camp. Following on the debacle with Tameka Williams, this has become another public relations nightmare and again, no matter who is at fault, the victim in all this has been St. Kitts and Nevis.