The Commonwealth of Dominica first participated in the Olympic Games at the 1996 edition in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The six member Dominica team featured five track and field representatives (Jérome Romain, Steve Agar, Cedric Harris, Dawn Williams and Hermine Joseph). Romain qualified for the finals of the men’s triple jump (he failed to register a jump in the finals) while Williams missed out on a place in the women’s 800m finals.
The feats of Romain and Williams remain Dominica’s best performances so far at the Olympics. Reflecting on accomplishments in Atlanta, Romain told Trackalerts.com that he felt honoured to be among the pioneers for his country. “It was a great feeling, knowing we were the first ones. It was also very humbling. Others before us, laid the groundwork for the special occasion in Dominica’s sporting history.” The 1995 World Championships bronze medallist is confident that the achievements of Williams and himself in Atlanta have given hope to the country’s sportsmen and sportswomen.
“I believe what Dawn and I did in 1996, inspired a new generation of kids who could now dream about one day representing Dominica at the Olympics. They saw that if individuals who grew up like they did, can achieve such a feat at the pinnacle of all sporting events, then maybe, they themselves will one day inspire others.”
Romain is based in the U.S.A where he coaches but has his hopes on returning to Dominica one day and contributing to the development of sports on the island. “There is so much talent but we need the leadership and structure to harness those talents.”
In Rio, twenty years later, Dominica is represented by two triple jumpers, Thea LaFond and Yordanys Duranos; no doubt as a result of Romain’s impact. Lafond competed in the women’s event and Duranos will do so in the men’s.
Romain had the chance to work with Duranos while doing coaching duties at the 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland, USA and also coached La Fond at the 2013 Carifta Games in the Bahamas.
He is proud of the pair. “Yordanys is a very talented young man and he if he is at his best in Rio. I think Dominica can bounce into history. It is definitely great to see we have representation and especially exciting that they are both triple jumpers.”
La Fond competed on Saturday (August 13) at 9:40m (Rio time) while Doranos will do battle in qualifiers on Monday (August 15) at 9:30am.