Olympic gold medalist Briana Williams returns home to tragic news. Dedicates gold medal to her late grandmother

By August 09, 2021

Briana Williams, a sprint relay gold medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has dedicated her gold medal to her late grandmother, Vive Colquhoun-Simpson, who passed away shortly after she departed for Japan. Vive was her mother, Sharon Simpson's, mother, who had been ailing for some time.

The 19-year-old star athlete ran a blistering opening leg that propelled Jamaican to their fourth gold medal of the Games in a national record of 41.02, totally ignorant of her grandmother’s passing. However, on arriving back in Florida today from her successful Olympic debut, Williams was greeted with the tragic news.

“Just got home and found out my dear grandmother, who lived with us passed away soon after I left for the Olympics,” Williams wrote on her Facebook page.

“They wisely decided to wait until after Tokyo to tell me. I dedicate my Olympic gold medal to her memory and for all she poured into me. Sleep well, Nenna. Thank you. I love you.”

The post has generated more than a thousand messages of condolence from her fans across the globe.

Funeral services are scheduled for this Saturday.

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Related items

  • World and Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo announces pregnancy, will miss World Champs in Budapest World and Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo announces pregnancy, will miss World Champs in Budapest

    Shaunae Miller-Uibo will not be defending her 400m title at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest in August. She will also not be running the 200m because she is going to be a mommy!

  • Olympic gold medalist Briana Williams grants scholarships to members of Excelsior High's track team Olympic gold medalist Briana Williams grants scholarships to members of Excelsior High's track team

    Jamaica’s youngest Olympic gold medalist Briana Williams has awarded scholarships to three Excelsior High School student-athletes valued at JMD$210,000.

    Williams, who moved to Jamaica to train last year, is already dedicated to giving back to the community.

    Following a Christmas treat that the 20-year-old Olympic champion staged for children in Montego Bay environs last December, Williams will now provide $70,000 each in scholarships to Shakira Rhoden, Shelly-Ann Taylor and Janelia Williams.

    Rhoden and Taylor are members of Excelsior’s reigning Anthrick Corporate Area Development Meet 4x100m relay team.

    Kayla Harris, who was also a member of that team, awarded her scholarship to teammate Janelia Williams.

    Janelia Williams is an ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships (Champs) silver medalist in the 200m.

     The athletes came to Williams’ attention when she read a published interview following the team’s victory at the Anthrick Development Meet in 2022.

    In it, they indicated that the multiple Carifta Games gold medalist was a role model.

     When Williams read the article, as well as saw an Instagram post with the athletes, she was thrilled,

    “I was so honoured when I read the article in the newspaper stating that I inspire these girls. I wanted to meet them, but leave more than inspirational words. I wanted to support their academic journey,” Briana said.

    The scholarship was made possible through Briana’s sponsor GraceKennedy Limited and will be disbursed to the school to cover the cost of books, tuition and other necessities for the 2023 academic year.

     The Briana Williams scholarship will now be an annual offer to aid student-athletes in their academic and sporting pursuits.

    "I am committed to giving back to athletes in Jamaica because I know what it's like. It's not easy being a student-athlete.” She shared.

    "My sponsor GraceKennedy and I will make this an annual scholarship to deserving student athletes who showcase their athletic talents and are also having good grades."

    She encouraged over 100 members of the Excelsior High track team who were present at the ceremony to remain committed to the sport.

    "We are committed to helping the next generation in this sport and I want to encourage you to work hard and don't let anybody quell your dreams,” she said.

    "Put in the work, listen to your teachers, your coaches and rewrite your goals and recite them every day and don't give up.”

     In 2020, Williams provided 25 tablets to student-athletes forced to attend classes from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    She also donated furniture and school supplies to educator Stacey-Ann Donaldson who has a reading and homework centre in Rose Gardens, Kingston.

    Williams ran the first leg of Jamaica’s gold-medal winning 4x100m effort at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (held in 2021). She also won silver as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon. 

  • JOA and Members Re-defining Success in Sport JOA and Members Re-defining Success in Sport

    It is common knowledge that the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) is fulfilling one its primary mandates of expanding and deepening Jamaica’s vault in competitive sport while enriching what some describe as “smaller sports” a term which does not exist in the developmental  vocabulary of Jamaica’s  apex body in sport. 

    Jerone Ennis, the 2022 American Light Heavyweight Boxing Confederation/Caribbean gold medalist and Commonwealth Youth Welterweight Bronze medalist is on board: “I am a proud representative of the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control and my goal is to represent Jamaica at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and thanks to the JOA which made it possible for me to represent Jamaica at the international level and for developing the ‘smaller’ sporting syndicates.”

    Olympian Ricardo Brown, the 2019 Pan American bronze medalist in the men’s super heavyweight (91+kg) class who in 2021 turned professional, puts it in the context of transitioning to the big stage which all athletes envision. “Attending the Tokyo Olympic Games is a memory and an experience  for a lifetime and the JOA was supportive in starting me in the right direction which has expanded more opportunities  for me in my professional career.”

    While Brown articulates the dream of athletes,  JOA Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer, Ryan Foster, gives the perspective of his colleague Directors. “For the JOA family two is not better than too many; and while success in sport development is understandably  qualitative, there is a numerical component that materially defines progress and validates the principle “sport for all, all for sport” which is our theme for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.” 

    Foster’s comment strikes a chord with Weightlifting Federation President,  Dr. Mark Broomfield whose sport has been creating history. “There is a parallel between educational professions and sporting disciplines. For years many thought that to have a meaningful career one had to be either a Lawyer or a Doctor, no other profession was respected or encouraged until reality proved otherwise. The same is true for sport in the Jamaican landscape. Many only saw football, cricket,  track and field and netball, the female sport, as the only sport worth developing and promoting but “out of many one people” is a platform that promotes diversity and the belief that Jamaicans can represent their country in other sporting disciplines outside of the chosen three or four. Pioneers are known for their ability to pave new path ways and it’s time for new pioneers in sports.” 

    Fencing Federation President, James McBean, is also on the same page regarding the JOA’s “no sport being left behind” policy as he says “this really speaks to the effort that the JOA is making in terms of encouraging, honing and in many ways revolutionizing the sporting landscape of Jamaica and what’s also quite poignant is the way in which JOA seems to be going about this is very much in line with the spirit of the IOC in that all these new so called ‘smaller sports’ or new ‘family members’ to the sporting family are treated equally, given a voice, and being encouraged. Nurturing the so-called ‘smaller sports’ is so important because this is a wise investment in Jamaica’s sport and a brilliant use of resources and time.” 

    Many Olympic sports are now coming into their own and international  representation across the board continues to be a driving force of the JOA. “Any governing body in sport or otherwise knows that the playing field must be level at all times for governance of members’ aspirations cannot be for some  a valley and others a mountain-top experience. Enshrined in the Olympic Charter is the equal right of all to self-actualisation and to transition to the Olympic stage”  JOA President, Christopher Samuda,  said. 

    Olympian and the 2022 Commonwealth Games sliver medalist in the Women 70kg weight category, Ebony  knows the immense potential of her sport. "I want to get to another Olympics and, with that, help Jamaica to improve the awareness of judo as a sport and get more persons to participate. Judo has given so much to my life and I want other people to experience the same - especially the youth. Ultimately, the Jamaica Judo Association is really helping to build the interest in the country as we have a great potential for international success at every age group." 

    2023 will witness two major games – the El Salvador Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games and the Santiago Pan American Games -  the predecessors of which in 2019 were historic for the JOA in terms of the most sports represented, the most medal haul and the largest contingent. “Our goal is clearly to surpass those milestones and our commitment to those sports who they call minor, is not only major but is mature” Samuda emphasised. 

    At the heart of sport  development and success in sport and central to KPIs of any growth strategy is an understanding that is akin to the thought process that goes into any viable investment and revenue strategy: “Diversify, pluralise, economise and then  monetise and don’t allow your eggs to be placed in one basket. The same applies to sport” Foster said. 

    In the last decade there has been, noticeably, an emergence of new Olympic sports with well-defined technical cohorts, fan bases and financial backers who are taking some icing and slices from the sporting cake which must necessarily and creatively  be enlarged and enriched to accommodate new tastes and a widening diet of diverse ambitions.

     

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.