Shortly after the press conference, Kim Collins, who is now home in St. Kitts, also went to the airwaves in a live radio interview to tell his side of the story.
It was clear from his comments that the poor relations between him and the management, has been ongoing for some time. Collins even made mention of a special event he organized last year for young athletes.
“Last year when I tried to help the kids and had a track meet and camp, the amount of problems and red tape that I got…and these are the same people who say they want to help the sport.”
When asked, if the SKNOC Committee is changed, if he would consider running for the country again, he simply said “a lot of rules would have to change.”
When it came to the issue of his coach and wife, Collins said his wife is more than that. He said she is also his coach and so too the coach for at least three of the six members of the team. “So some consideration should have been given to her, but that was not given, so that she could have been allowed to be in the Athletes Village with access to the athletes to render possible assistance. But she was disregarded.”
The SKNOC has said however that they had arranged for Day Passes for Mrs. Collins.
Mr. Collins indicated that others were given such access, though they had no role to play in the preparation of the athletes and they were given accreditation. These are things that have been happening for years, said the star sprinter and former World Champion in the 100m.
“You can have protocols where she can be allowed into the village but she was disregarded. We as athletes are supposed to have tickets to the events when we are competing and I have never gotten tickets ever.”
There is no policy, said Kim that an athlete cannot have his wife or partner with them in the stadium. They (the SKNOC officials) knew she was coming. She actually travelled on the same flight to London with the Secretary General of the SKNOC who is also the President of the SKNAAA, Mr. Glenn Jeffers; and also on the same flight was the office secretary of the SKNOC, explained Mr. Collins.
“For those who think this is about sex, I could have (had) women from over 200 countries in the world, black, white, anything you can think of, so if this was about sex, I did not need my wife…there were so many women there; and there are free condoms, ok. This is (about) my wife and coach; that is the issue here, my wife/ coach. So those who want to think it’s about sex, it can’t be about sex. So get that off you mind, this is not about sex I don’t know where people get that from. I needed my coach there, who just happened to be my wife.”
“In the rooms at the village there were two persons per room with one shared bathroom. There is nobody who would not want comfort. No athlete goes without their coach. Tiger Woods does not go to play golf without his caddy. Every boxer has his team around him cheering him on… telling him he is number one.”
“Me ain’t got nobody in me corner.”
He also spoke to the reason why he was not able to compete.
“The Saturday morning when I turned up to run I could not get into the village. Because the athletes are so protected, you have to get to the track from being in the village. There in the village is the point from which you get the bus that takes you to the warm up track and then from here you walk over to the stadium itself.”
“But then I got to the village and could not get into the village, that’s where the problem was…and then for the officials to say I should have called, they deliberately did that and they knew what they were doing,” charged Kim.
“They did not want me to run. If they did not cancel my accreditation I would have been on the track, because I went there (London) for business.”
Having looked at the heats and semis, Kim said he was convinced that he too would have made the finals. “Of course! My body is holding up much better now than it did last year and it’s the same people (athletes) and the track is faster and I already ran under 10 seconds this year, so I know am running faster than I did last year.”
Kim said the statements about him being absent for 3 days without communicating with the Olympic and team officials, is incorrect. “There was communication and I can prove what I have said.”
Though the public sentiments have been mixed with some support for each side to the dispute, many have maintained their defense of Kim Collins, whom they still regard as a national treasure and even hero. We publish below a few of such comments.
This is what one male caller to local radio had to say about Kim, “For something he should have been given a slap on the risk, he was given a death sentence.”
Another caller, this time a woman, spoke very passionately and said, “What happened in London is a disgrace.”
She continued in her support and message to Kim, “Do not let anybody write your history, write it yourself. There are those who are gonna look at this as though you are gonna go down in disgrace…you don’t let that happen. As far as I am concerned, you will go out in a blaze of glory because all of those times when you had been disrespected in this country yet you took yourself up and you alone represented this country and you did well.”
“Where was the NOC? There was nobody. I don’t know what happened in London. I really don’t know and I don’t blame you because I don’t believe you would leave all the way here to go to London and not function,” ended the caller.
Though Kim said he preferred not to comment too much on the Tameka issue, because of possible legal actions between certain individuals, he did say that “Some other team members wondered if they too would be sent home next because the team morale was affected.”
Mr. Collins said if it were him, he would have handled the (Tameka Williams) situation differently, because it really did not have to come to that.
“Either she would not have had to be sent home or would not have gone in the first place. It could have been handled in a way that nobody would have known what happened. I really felt sorry for her and it really brought tears to the whole team because she was the glue to the team, she was keeping the team together. She was the one who made sure everybody ate breakfast together and lunch together. I personally was hurt by the whole thing.”
In the meantime, as this saga continues to play out on the world stage, there are those who believe it is time for it to end and for some compromise and reconciliation to take place. The real victim in all this is not the SKNOC, SKNAAA nor KIM, it is “Brand St. Kitts & Nevis”, and its image.