In a poignant moment during Saturday’s final day of 128th edition of the Penn Relays, veteran sports journalist Paul Reid accepted the prestigious Jesse Abramson Award on behalf of his late friend, brother, and colleague, Hubert Lawrence. The ceremony, tinged with both celebration and remembrance, highlighted Lawrence's unparalleled contributions to track and field journalism and his lasting impact on the sport.

"It's an absolute honour to receive the Jesse Abramson Award for excellence in track and field journalism on behalf of Hubert Lawrence," expressed Reid, who was the first Jamaican sports journalist to receive the award in 2010.

"This award was long overdue given Hubert's outstanding body of work, particularly at the Penn Relays, which he covered for over 25 years. Hubert would have cherished this moment, especially witnessing Excelsior's historic win after nearly 60 years."

Excelsior High School won the Championship of America High School Boys 4x100m in a time of 40.45. It was the first time they were winning the event since they last claimed victory in 1967.

Reid's emotional words encapsulated the deep bond shared with Lawrence, who passed away suddenly on February 23, 2024. The Penn Relays marked a poignant occasion for both friends, whose coverage of the event spanned more than three decades. "He (Lawrence) would have pulled up a long list of statistics and facts," Reid remarked in reference to Excelsior historic win. "It was surreal standing there on the infield during the ceremony as I had missed my award in 2010 because I had no idea that I was being awarded and was busy working at the time. Hubert leaves a massive legacy and he is missed every day, especially at track and field meets."

The decision to honour Lawrence posthumously was prompted by Irwin Clare of Team Jamaica Bickle, a longstanding supporter of Jamaican and Caribbean athletes at the Penn Relays.

"With his untimely passing, we felt this was an extremely appropriate time to honour someone who had such a profound impact on track and field in Jamaica and at the Penn Relays," remarked Aaron Robison, the meet director of the Penn Relays. "Hubert was universally respected and admired, not only by athletes and coaches but also by the entire media fraternity. His integrity and dignity in reporting earned him admiration from all quarters of the sport."

 Lawrence's legacy transcended journalism, resonating deeply with athletes and coaches who held him in high regard for his professionalism and genuine passion for track and field.

The posthumous recognition underscores the enduring influence of his work and the profound loss felt by the athletics community. As Reid stood on the infield, accepting the award, the void left by Lawrence's absence was palpable, a testament to the indelible mark he made in the world of sports journalism.

In honouring Hubert Lawrence with the Jesse Abramson Award, the Penn Relays celebrated not only a remarkable journalist but also a cherished friend and colleague whose legacy continues to inspire and resonate within the track and field community.


The prestigious Penn Relays, set to take place at Franklin Field in Philadelphia from April 25-27, 2024, will pay tribute to the late journalist, author, and track and field analyst Hubert Lawrence by presenting him posthumously with the esteemed Jesse Abramson Award. Lawrence, who passed away suddenly at the age of 63 on February 23, 2024, had been a significant figure in track and field journalism for more than three decades, covering the Penn Relays from 1995 to 2023.

The Jesse Abramson Award recognizes an active member of the media who has consistently demonstrated a devotion to the Penn Relays.

Aaron Robison, the Meet Director of the Penn Relays since 2021, when he was appointed Associate Director at the University of Pennsylvania, expressed enthusiasm for honouring Lawrence with the Abramson Award this year, acknowledging Lawrence's profound impact on the sport. He highlighted the significance of this tribute, noting that Lawrence will be only the third recipient from Jamaica to receive the award.

Jamaica Observer writer Paul Reid was the first-ever Jamaican recipient in 2010 while broadcast journalist Ed Barnes received the award in 2018.

"We're very excited to be able to honour him with the Abramson award this year," said Robison. "With his untimely passing, we just felt that this was an extremely appropriate time to be able to do something like this for someone that has had such a huge impact on the world of track and field within Jamaica, and then also here at the Penn Relays. And last week, I was touching base with Irwin Clare of Team Jamaica Bickle, and he made the recommendation and we thought, what a perfect tribute, and what a perfect opportunity to honour Mr Lawrence."

Robison emphasized Lawrence's universal respect within the track and field community, noting the positive feedback from athletes and coaches alike. "In the media world, it's almost like there's two ends of the spectrum here. There's the really well respected, all the athletes, all the coaches, all the media really likes the person or nobody likes the person. Hubert is absolutely on the end of everyone has just incredible things to say about him," Robison remarked. "What is an incredible tribute for a journalist is when the athletes that they cover have only beautiful things to say about them. That tells you all you need to know about the person."

The Abramson Award will be presented twice during the Penn Relays weekend. The first presentation will occur during the acknowledgement ceremony before the television broadcast window on Saturday afternoon at 1:25 p.m. in front of the whole crowd. The second presentation will take place during the officials' reception after the meet at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Robison reflected on Lawrence's impact on the Penn Relays and the wider track and field community, underscoring his professionalism and rapport with athletes. "To be able to have that class and that dignity, to be respected by those that you're reporting on, that's a real, real skill and an incredible tribute to him," Robison concluded.

The Penn Relays' decision to honour Hubert Lawrence with the Abramson Award underscores Lawrence's enduring legacy and profound influence on the sport of track and field, both in Jamaica and on the international stage. His contributions will be celebrated and remembered during this year's relay festival, ensuring that his impact continues to resonate within the track and field community.

The track and field community, and indeed the entire nation, was left reeling by the sudden passing of beloved journalist and broadcaster Hubert Lawrence on February 23, 2024. Lawrence, known for his encyclopedic knowledge and unparalleled passion for sports, particularly track and field, had been a fixture in the hearts of many for years. His unexpected departure just before the Gibson/McCook Relays sent shockwaves through Jamaica and beyond.

In recognition of his immense contribution to the sporting world, GraceKennedy Ltd, the title sponsors for the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships, vowed to pay tribute to Lawrence during the event. True to their word, an emotional tribute unfolded during the Championships, featuring a heartfelt video presentation from colleagues and athletes alike, including GraceKennedy Ambassadors Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Hansle Parchment, and Briana Williams. The moving tribute was complemented by a musical performance from Alaine, accompanied by the St. Jago High School chorale.

However, the tribute did not end there. Frank James, CEO of Grace Foods Domestic, stepped forward to present a symbolic gesture of support to St. Jago High School, Lawrence's alma mater. A cheque for JMD$1 million was handed over to a tearful Mrs. Collette Pryce, Principal of St. Jago High School, to fund a legacy project in honour of Lawrence.

Speaking to Sportsmax.TV following the presentation, Mrs. Pryce expressed her gratitude for the generous donation and reflected on the profound impact of Lawrence's legacy. She described Lawrence as a "walking encyclopedia" whose wealth of knowledge and dedication left an indelible mark on all who knew him.

Mrs. Pryce also emphasized the importance of preserving Lawrence's memory for future generations. She mentioned the void left by Lawrence's passing and the community's determination to honor his memory in a meaningful way.

“It is a huge loss. Personally, I was with him the Wednesday (February 21), before he died. We had plans. One of the things I wanted to see was a book for our school for first formers to know the stories of St. Jago and Hubert had all the stories about all the headmasters, about all the characters and I think we have lost a lot because most of it was not recorded and there is this void that we’re feeling right now and we are hoping that someone can step up but the community is shaken.

“He never left St Jago, so we knew him and we are speechless and tonight (Saturday) was difficult. I have been getting the messages from the Diaspora, from persons in Jamaica and they really want to thank Grace for recognizing our school in honour of Hubert, we know that he would have wanted that and we will need time to think this through but it’s a huge loss.”

Mrs. Pryce revealed plans to form a committee comprising Lawrence's friends and family to ensure that any tribute truly reflects his greatness.

“St Jago is 280 years old this year and we are doing a number of activities and Hubert’s legacy is huge. For me, it’s larger than life, heroic and so for the next 280 years Hubert’s name, his work must be in the annals of St Jago High School.

“So, a committee will have to work on this, his friends, we would love for them to be involved in this along with his family, so that whatever we so will really recognize his greatness.”


Karen Mussington, Sponsorship and Events Manager at GraceKennedy, shed light on the company's decision to honour Lawrence and the emotional significance of the tribute. She recalled Lawrence's integral role in sporting events over the years, stating, "What is Champs without Hubert? Personally, I can't remember having Champs, other than this one, without hearing his voice."

She recounted the emotional response from Mrs. Pryce upon learning of GraceKennedy's intention to donate to St. Jago High School in Lawrence's honour, underscoring the deep impact of Lawrence's legacy.

“When I called Mrs. Pryce to tell her what our intention was, she cried,” Mussington stated while recalling how the tribute came together.

“We thought we would get persons close to him to talk about him, Bruce (James), Dwayne Extol, that looked up to him, our brand ambassadors. Shelly talked about him giving her the name ‘Pocket Rocket’, so we thought we’d just put together that tribute for him. It was well received by the stadium and then, not only the tribute, but to make this meaningful donation to his beloved alma mater, St Jago and we will be working with Mrs Pryce to get a project done in his honour.”

While details of the legacy project are yet to be finalized, Mussington hinted at its focus on sports in line with Lawrence's passion and St. Jago High School's active involvement in athletics. She assured that GraceKennedy would continue to collaborate with Mrs. Pryce to ensure that Lawrence's memory is honored in a meaningful and lasting way.

“We definitely want it in line with sports because that was him and St Jago is very active in sports, especially athletics. So we want to something down that line but we have to speak with Mrs Pryce. There will definitely be a part two to this, it is a meaningful story but whatever it is it is going to be in his honour.”


 The air at the National Stadium in Kingston was thick with anticipation as the 2024 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships approaches. However, there was a sombre note underlying the excitement—the absence of the revered journalist, analyst, and author, Hubert Lawrence, whose insights and analyses had become synonymous with the prestigious high school track and field meet.

Lawrence, who had spent decades unraveling the intricacies of track and field, providing context and depth to the exhilarating performances witnessed at the championships, passed away at his St. Catherine home on the evening of February 23, 2024. As the sporting community mourns the loss of this Jamaican legend, the organizers of the event are planning a fitting tribute to honour Lawrence's indelible contributions.

The announcement of this pending tribute was made by Don Webhy, CEO of the GraceKennedy Group, during the launch of the 2024 ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships. Addressing the gathering on Wednesday night, Webhy spoke of the void left by Lawrence's recent passing and the unique presence he brought to the world of athletics.

"This morning (Wednesday) I had a discussion with the ISSA (Inter-Secondary School Sports Association) President Keith Wellington, and I (told) Keith that GraceKennedy would like to honour Hubert at Champs. He assured me that he would engage Hubert’s family and my GraceKennedy team to develop a fitting tribute to Hubert Lawrence. I am confident Keith and my colleagues that an announcement will be made very shortly in terms of how we can honour his memory," expressed Webby.

The sentiment of honouring Lawrence's legacy echoed throughout the evening, with ISSA President Wellington and Olympian Vilma Charlton, speaking on behalf of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) president Garth Gayle all paying tribute to the late journalist.

The most poignant tribute came from Dr. Claire Clarke-Grant, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Broadcast and Content Services at the RJR Group. For the past decade, the RJR Group had been broadcasting the Championships across all their platforms, with Lawrence's analyses enriching their coverage.

“Lawrence’s analysis and unique perspective enriched our broadcasts and touched the lives of countless viewers and listeners. It’s probably not measurable, but I would like us all to think about the broadcasts that we have watched and listened to Hubert, how much he has taught the Jamaican audience what track and field is about, what track and field means to schools, to communities, to families,” shared Dr. Clarke-Grant, who had also been Lawrence's schoolmate at St Jago High School.

As the specter of Lawrence's absence looms over the upcoming Championships, Dr. Clarke-Grant emphasized the significant impact he had made, leaving an everlasting legacy that would guide and illuminate the world of track and field for years to come.

“We will miss his presence dearly, and his legacy will forever remain a guiding light for all of us at Television Jamaica, but for all of us who are connoisseurs of track and field who love the sport, who will remember the experiences that we had as we heard his voice doing commentary and analysis,” she concluded, reflecting the collective sentiment of a community mourning the loss of a true icon.

Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) president Christopher Samuda and chairman of the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) George Soutar said the void left by Hubert Lawrence will be hard to fill, as they paid tribute to the respected track and field analysis, whose untimely passing has cast a pall of gloom over the sporting fraternity.

Lawrence, 64, who was also well-known for his authorship, and historical documentation, passed away at home on Friday.

Samuda remembered Lawrence as an authority on Jamaican and global track and field, who played a crucial role in television coverage of various athletic events, including the Olympics, World Championships, and local meets.

The veteran analyst had been an integral part of the track and field commentary for more than three decades, his passion for the sport evident in his dedicated contributions to both television and written media.

“Hubert Lawrence was not simply an encyclopedia of statistics and historical data of others, but more importantly, he was himself a landmark that gave a nation in his commentary a self-portrait in track and field. A man in the mirror vision of where an athletic fraternity stood in his development and the journey must take in order to progress and mature,” Samuda shared.

“He gave statistics context in his written and spoken word, so that players could understand the culture of the sport more, their role and responsibility, and be guided by the principles of Olympicism, which is pen-inked in personalizing successive Olympic Games. The Olympic family mourns his mortality, but is assured and assures his family that his soul now rests eternally,” he added.

Beyond his on-screen presence, Lawrence was a prolific author, having written and co-authored significant books on track and field. Some notable works include "Champs 100" in 2010, "The Power and the Glory: Jamaica in World Athletics, From World War II to the Diamond League Era" in 2012, and "50 Days of Fire" in 2022.

Lawrence, who Soutar described as a true champion for athletes and sports development in Jamaica, inspiring generations with his passion and knowledge, leaves behind a profound impact on the track and field community in Jamaica and beyond.

“He was well known for his balanced and insightful commentaries and interviews, not only to local sports but also in the region and internationally.

“Jamaica has lost a dedicated, and one of our most knowledgeable sports analysts and commentators. On behalf of the Sports Development Foundation, our condolences go out to his family and the sports fraternity,” Soutar said.

The track and field community is mourning the sudden and untimely death of Hubert Lawrence, a beloved and respected figure in the world of track and field analysis, authorship, and historical documentation.

Born in 1960, Lawrence would have celebrated his 64th birthday this year. He passed away at home on Friday, leaving a void in the hearts of those who knew and admired him.  According to reports, his body was discovered at his St Catherine home by a concerned neighbor.

Lawrence, an authority on Jamaican and global track and field, played a crucial role in television coverage of various athletic events, including the Olympics, World Championships, and local meets. Additionally, he contributed as a columnist for the Daily Gleaner, exhibiting his profound knowledge and insights into the sport.

The news of Lawrence's passing came as a shock to many, especially on the eve of his scheduled participation in Television Jamaica’s coverage of the 2024 Gibson McCook Relays later today (Saturday, 24).

The veteran analyst had been an integral part of the track and field commentary for more than three decades, his passion for the sport evident in his dedicated contributions to both television and written media.

Beyond his on-screen presence, Lawrence was a prolific author, having written and co-authored significant books on track and field. Some notable works include "Champs 100" in 2010, "The Power and the Glory: Jamaica in World Athletics, From World War II to the Diamond League Era" in 2012, and "50 Days of Fire" in 2022.

Lawrence's legacy extends far beyond his written words and televised analyses; he leaves behind a profound impact on the track and field community in Jamaica and beyond. His absence will be deeply felt, and his contributions to the understanding and appreciation of the sport will be remembered for years to come.


G.C. Foster could take his rightful place as the father of Jamaica’s strong legacy in track and field following the launch of 50 Days Afire at the sports college named in his honour in St Catherine, Jamaica on Thursday night.

50 Days Afire chronicles 50 track and field performances that shaped Jamaica’s legacy in the sport as well as the lost story of Foster, who after being unable to compete at the Olympics in 1908, proceeded to defeat many of the finalists of the 100m in subsequent meets across Europe.

At the launch, a short documentary ‘Finding Foster’ that highlighted the long-buried legacy of GC Foster, was shown to a captive audience.

Following years of research and interviews by authors Michael A. Grant and Hubert Lawrence Foster to life and documented seminal moments in the country's long and storied history in track and field. Grant and Lawrence said the information contained in the book could or perhaps should change the narrative about who really set the pace for what Jamaica has been able to accomplish through the likes of Herb McKenley, Merlene Ottey, Marilyn Neufville, Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah among many others.

“I hope so,” said Lawrence, the noted track writer and historian, “it’s an inspiring story. If you could take off with no Olympic Committee, thinking you could beat the best, is typical Jamaican. My parents did that. I am who I am because my parents made those choices and GC Foster exemplifies that spirit that can’t be broken.

“He came back, didn’t make it but put that into coaching and Jamaica is better for it. I hope so.”

Both men agree that producing the book helped them understand how the events they wrote about helped shape Jamaica’s track and field history but that realization did not come about until they were well into the process.

“Once I got about half-way it occurred to me that these 50 events actually changed Jamaica. If you remove them and they never happened it would be a very different country, not just in terms of sport but also in terms of the culture itself,” Grant opined.

Lawrence though had a different take. “If we can avoid the mistakes of the past by showing the victories of the past then it’s like a torch light showing people where to go,” he said.

“People now know that there was greatness all the way through the history back to 1908 and they trust it if they work hard and they work smart they can win.”

On the evening, a portrait of GC Foster was unveiled at the school's auditorium as his grand-daughters Andrea Roberts, Debbie Jardine and Heather Chin looked on.

 Deon Hemmings, the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic gold medal, when she ran a record 52.82 to defeat the more fancied Americans Kim Batten and Tonja Buford, at the Atlanta Games in 1996, was also honoured with artwork by Patrick Kitson over a citation recalling her history-making exploits.






, could change the narrative that Arthur Wint, Herb McKenley, George Rhoden and Les Laing, are the fathers of Jamaica’s strong track and field legacy.


that chronicles 50 track and field performances that shaped Jamaica’s legacy in the sport, believe that the unearthing of the accomplishments of

Deon Hemmings-McCatty,  the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic gold medal, is to be honoured for her impact on local athletics and inspiration to young athletes, at Thursday’s launch of  50 Days Afire, a book chronicling impactful events in Jamaica’s track and field at GC Foster College in St Catherine.

A documentary 'Finding Foster: The Search for Jamaica’s Lost Sprint Hero' will also be a feature at the launch of the seminal publication by publisher Michael A. Grant and track and field writer, commentator and historian Hubert Lawrence.

I can’t say no,” the history making Olympian said in accepting her invitation to the event, “I will be there.”

The special award was initiated by local gaming brand AnyBet, the title sponsor of the book, film and  event. Grants for research and production were also provided by NCB Capital Markets, Sherwin-Williams, Sports Development Foundation and Tastee Ltd., while other sponsorship was provided by GC Foster College, Supreme Outdoor Advertising, and WISYNCO Ltd.

Fifty Days Afire, is the third collaboration between Grant and Lawrence. It chronicles the 50 most significant performances by Jamaican athletes over 115 years of competition, beginning with GC Foster’s exploits in the United Kingdom in 1908.

In addition to never-before-seen photographs of Foster as an athlete and pictures representing all the featured races, the book addresses issues of class, nationalism and Jamaica’s love of sprinting, while discussing reasons for the growing dominance of the island’s athletes on the world stage. Readers will learn how influential those 50 races have been to the overall development of the sport, even though they do not all feature victories or records.

'Finding Foster' is Grant’s  brainchild. He uncovered important information and photographs of Jamaican pioneering sprinter and coach Gerald Claude “GC” Foster while conducting research for the book.

With a run-time of 30 minutes, the production features analysis by Lawrence and sports broadcaster Kayon Raynor and follows Foster on his quest to compete at the 1908 London Olympics, travelling alone on his own funds.

With the help of British coach Harry Andrews, Foster was able to turn his failed bid at Olympic glory into a spectacular three-month tour of Great Britain in which he competed prodigiously, beating the British champion and other Olympians in several meets.

While there, Foster became a favourite of the British sporting press and often addressed adoring crowds following his races.

In addition to honouring Hemmings, there will also be the unveiling of a portrait of Foster as a young athlete. The authors will also read from as well as sign books on sale at the venue.


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