Tuesday, 12 February 2013

TERRIFIC ‘TEDDY’: Political, sporting figures pay poignant tribute to the late Neville McCook

MEASURE OF A MAN: McCook remembered as a great and selfless Jamaican.

As we previously reported, track-and-field icon Neville ‘Teddy’ McCook died at the University Hospital of the West Indies on Monday, after a long struggle with illness. The 73-year-old McCook was a member of the Order of Distinction (CD) since 1987 and was later conferred with the Order of Jamaica in 2006. As news of his death spread nationwide, glowing tributes poured in to the media, with political and sporting figures weighing in on his legacy and his impact on the development of track and field in Jamaica and across the region. Below, a sampling of the remembrances: 

“Teddy has given distinguished service to Jamaica and, without a doubt, was a nation-builder who was diligent and disciplined in executing his responsibilities. He was a virtual icon in the track and field fraternity locally, regionally and internationally. He spent almost all of his life working on ways and means to improve the management of the sport structurally and organizationally. This made him one of the most clinical, efficient and technically sound sport administrators globally.” – Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller 

“I have always been impressed by his dedication and commitment to track and field. He was a truly loyal Jamaican who was highly respected worldwide. I, personally, drew on his input and guidance on many occasions and will truly miss him. I pray God’s grace and comfort for Teddy’s wife, Sonia, his daughters and other loved ones during this very difficult time and urge all Jamaicans to honour the memory of a selfless Jamaican, whose immense contribution to the world of athletics has left an indelible mark on the sport.” – Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange 

“My dearest condolences to the family of Mr. McCook. I hope you can find comfort knowing he served Jamaican athletics selflessly.” – Usain Bolt, sprinter 

“RIP Teddy McCook. He was a huge influence on track and field in Jamaica and on me personally. My sincere condolences to his family.” – Yohan Blake, sprinter 

“[McCook’s] major contribution was towards administration in a visionary and strategic way. At the local, regional and IAAF levels he created a scenario where Jamaica will have a long-lasting level of success in athletics by improving the quality of coaching and administration at all levels, from the schools to the clubs. And I don't think anyone would argue that we are where we are now due to his leadership and visionary positioning of the country’s athletics.” – Rainford Wilks, Chairman of the Gibson Relays Organizing Committee 

“I believe not only Jamaica, but the entire track and field world will be saddened by the loss of Teddy McCook. He was the consummate track and field person, who lived and breathed the sport. It will be a significant loss to the movement right across the world.” – Don Anderson, Vice-President, Jamaica Olympic Association 

“It’s a great loss for track and field in Jamaica and the entire region. He made a tremendous contribution to the sport. He was always a stickler for perfectionism and was a very strong figure, very authoritative. He believed in doing things the proper way. The JAAA would like to extend its deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. He will be greatly missed.” – Dr. Warren Blake, President, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association

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