Tribute by the Minister of Culture, Gender,
Entertainment and Sport
the Honourable Olivia Grange, CD, MP
to the late Daeshon Gordon
10 November 2018
Delivered by Jamaica’s Consul General to Miami, Mr Oliver Mair
Daeshon Gordon was an outstanding athlete and personality – taken away from us suddenly and way too soon.
Not just the track and field fraternity in her homeland, Jamaica, but many others are at this time in grief at the untimely passing of Daeshon Gordon whose relatively short career as a hurdler caught the attention of the world.
Daeshon was the top-ranked prep hurdler in Florida and was described as a fierce competitor and a great teammate. She went on to join Louisiana State University (LSU) where her talent and hard work were immediately seen on a national level. She earned two All-American awards while at LSU, first as a freshman in the 100m hurdles and second in 2016 in the indoors 60m hurdles.
It was no surprise that after her first season at LSU Daeshon retuned to Jamaica in June 2015 and competed at the National Senior Championships. A spot shy of qualifying for the World Championships, she gained a place on the team to the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships in Edmonton, Canada, where she received a bronze medal.
Daeshon continued her record making performance at Northwestern State, and just last year, was the Southland Conference Indoor Women’s Newcomer of the Year.
These are but a few of Daeshon’s accomplishments but I referenced them to show the determination and focus of this young woman. It is evident that Daeshon took her craft seriously and worked hard at it.
A young woman pursuing her dreams – balancing academics and athletics – with the goal of becoming the first female member of her family to earn a college degree and become an elementary school teacher. How could we not cheer her on? How could we not love her?
Let us celebrate with great joy and not so much sorrow, difficult as that is, Daeshon’s life and the many successes she was able to achieve.
I want to highlight a very important part of the sport history of Jamaica. It is an aspect we as a people are still figuring out – and that is – how do we recognise, honour and celebrate our female sport heroes.
My Ministry recently spearheaded the unveiling of the Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce Statue. No other woman has won three Olympic medals in the 100m (two golds and a bronze). We also just celebrated the historic accomplishment by the Reggae Girlz in qualifying for the Women’s World Cup, making Jamaica the first English-speaking Caribbean country to do so.
Jamaica’s sportswomen do their fair share to bring glory to the country on the international level. Repeatedly, we hear of Merlene Ottey, Veronica Campbell Brown, the Sunshine Girls and the female Bobsleigh team. Often, the women win multiple medals and become trailblazers.
In 2009 at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Brigitte Foster-Hylton and Delloreen Ennis-London won the gold and bronze medals in the 100m hurdles. In fact, Brigitte crossed the finish line not realising she had won and Delloreen called her back to let her know she did. The camaraderie and sisterhood that those women displayed brought fame to Jamaica, and to a race that Daeshon clearly loved.
And that is what makes her passing so sad. We didn’t have enough time with this beautiful young woman. We didn’t have enough time to watch her mature. We didn’t have enough time to celebrate with her, to bang pot cover and scream at the television and flood her parents’ phones with congratulatory calls. We didn’t have enough time to watch her take the world by storm.
We are, however, grateful for the special years that we did have. Daeshon was an exceptional track and field athlete who excelled at the sport she loved. Her genuine spirit resonated with so many individuals around the globe.
Her short time with us was lived with conviction and honour. We will keep her memory as an inspiration, knowing that though we mourn we are proud and humbled to have been in her life.
On behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, I express our deepest condolences to Daeshon’s parents, siblings and other relatives, teammates, friends and associates.