Jamaican track and field icons, Olympians Veronica Campbell-Brown and Donald Quarrie were honoured by Comets Club International, formerly the Montego Bay Comets Club at a gala in New York on Saturday, May 28.
At the lavish event held at the Antun’s Banquet Hall in Queens Village, New York, both former athletes received Lifetime Achievement Awards for their respective contributions to the sport of athletics and their enduring legacies are two of the island’s greatest ever.
Campbell-Brown, who retired in 2021 and who celebrated her 40th birthday on May 15, is the most decorated female athlete from Jamaica winning eight Olympic medals including three gold. She won two of those gold medals over 200m in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, respectively.
She also won 11 World Championships medals including three gold medals – the 100m in Osaka, Japan in 2007, 200m in Daegu, South Korea in 2011 and a 4x100m relay gold in 2015.
“Thanks to the Comets Club International for honouring me alongside the legendary sprints athlete Mr Donald Quarrie with the Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding service to athletics. I am humbled by the recognition,” said Campbell-Brown, who is pregnant with her second child with her husband, Omar.
Quarrie, 71, won 200m gold and 100m silver at the Montreal Olympics in 1976 as well as a bronze in the 200m in Moscow in 1980. He is a six-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist winning the sprint double in 1970 and 1974 and the 100m in 1978.
On retirement from the sport, he served as an administrator with the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) for many years and was a member of Jamaica’s delegation to global championships.
Like Campbell-Brown, Quarrie was moved by the occasion during which the gathering watched in delight a four-minute video of highlights of some of his races from the Montreal Olympics, Pan Am and Commonwealth Games was shown to the gathering.
Founder and executive director of the Montego Bay Comets and Comets International Aubrey Campbell said the event went according to plan with great support from the Diaspora and the honourees themselves were very gracious in the acceptance speeches.
“Donald, of course, pointed out that they are seen on television and in stadiums, but over dinner and in conversation, being honoured made him feel appreciated,” Campbell disclosed.
Campbell, a 3000m bronze medallist at the ISSA Boys Championships in 1977, said Campbell-Brown noted in her acceptance speech that you should not let failure prevent you from achieving success and that despite humble beginnings you can reach for the stars.
Also at the gala, former Edwin Allen athlete Jodi-Ann Dixon, now a student at Hinds Junior College in Mississippi was the first recipient of the organisation’s Rising Star Award.