BVI showcases colours of the BVI at Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony

Flag bearers Elinah Phillip (50m freestyle) Kyron McMaster (400m hurdler) and Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, Chef de Mission.represented the British Virgin Islands at the Opening Ceremony to mark the start of the long-awaited Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 23, 2021

A delegation of three represented the British Virgin Islands at the Opening Ceremony to mark the start of the long-awaited Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 23, 2021. Elinah Phillip, the 50m freestyle swimmer was the flag bearer and led ahead of Kyron McMaster (400m hurdler) and Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, Chef de Mission.

“This has been a long wait with many challenges but we all are finally here. it is exciting. Our athletes are prepared and focused, the energy levels are up and we are ready to go!” said Harrigan-Scott.

Phillip and McMaster in turn described their emotional state as being excited and euphoric and were looking forward to getting inside the Olympic Stadium to experience the atmosphere and to see the venue ahead of the competitions.

Chantel Malone (long jump) who completes the team of 3 for the 32nd Olympiad, landed in Tokyo in the late afternoon of July 23 along with the rest of the BVI’s delegation to include Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC, Lloyd Black, Secretary General and Winston Potter, Team Coach. Swimming coach Brien Moffitt arrived with Phillip on July 18.

“While I was unable to attend the Opening Ceremony in person due to travel delays, I was able to watch our delegation walk into the Olympic Stadium with the flag held high and proud,” said Penn. “These are unusual times and we are entering a new era of Olympic Games. We have a special team that has the full support of the BVIOC and our nation and we are definitely looking forward to their competitions next week.”

The 28th nation to march into the Olympic Stadium, the 3 representatives wore outfits designed by Rhenique Cooper and Ruth Frazer of the BVI and which incorporated the Territory’s colours and traditional dress in a modern design.

“The inspiration behind this design was our original BVI traditional dress. I wanted to take elements of the puff sleeves and the big skirt and modernize it into a dress that a BVIslander of today could wear. Thus, making the skirt tiered and shorter gave it the same effect of being full without feeling weighed down. This is will be my first time designing for the BVI Olympic Committee and I’m very excited. I’m grateful to have this opportunity and it feels very surreal,” said Cooper.

Kristin Frazer, who designed the mask, project managed the production of the Opening Ceremony wear. The men’s button-down shirt and jacket were designed by her mother, Ruth Frazer.

The Opening Ceremony typically is a high demand event where the host nation presents an exceptional performance choreographed to showcase its history, culture, and innovation and to tell a story that reflects its values and that of its Olympic legacy. For Tokyo 2020, the occasion was more subdued than usual with COVID-19 protocol restrictions limiting attendance. Observing the continuous message for delivering a “safe games”, the athlete delegations representing the 206 participating nations marching into the stadium were also smaller in number than in previous editions. There were approximately 6,000 athletes and team officials, 900 Games stakeholders and guests of honour and 3,500 broadcasters and press.

At 11:15pm (JST) His Majesty the Emperor of Japan declared the Games of Tokyo, celebrating the XXXII Olympiad of the modern era open. The Games will proceed with the new Olympic motto of “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together” announced by the IOC on July 20.

A total of 11,091 athletes are expected to compete in 33 sports and 339 events at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. The BVI’s athletes will compete in 2 sports and 3 events with the following dates and times (adjusted for the BVI) for each of their first round of competitions: McMaster, 400m hurdles heat 1 – 9:55 pm, Thursday, July 29; Elinah Phillip, 50m freestyle heats – 6:00 am, Friday, July 30; Malone long jump qualifying round – 8:50pm, Saturday, July 31. This will be the first Olympics for McMaster and Malone and the second for Phillip who made her Olympic debut at Rio 2016 in Brazil at 16 years of age. She was the BVI’s youngest athlete and first swimmer to compete at an Olympic Games.

The Olympic Games will be broadcast live on NBC with daily team reports and updates from the BVIOC on its social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by Dean Greenaway on ZROD 103.7 and CBN 90.9FM.

BVIOC Presents Team for Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games

Team IVB for Tokyo 2020

The Virgin Islands (UK) Team for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games is today confirmed by the BVI Olympic Committee and Chef de Mission, Mrs. Tahesia Harrigan-Scott to include two track and field athletes and one swimmer. Kyron McMaster will compete in the men’s 400m hurdles and Chantel Malone will compete in the women’s long jump. Swimmer Elinah Phillip will compete in the women’s 50m freestyle. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games take place in Japan July 23 – August 8, 2021.

McMaster and Phillip will be the flag bearers at the Opening Ceremony on July 23. The athletes will be in clothing and masks respectively designed by Virgin Islanders Ms. Rhenique Cooper and Ms. Kristin Fraser.

This will be the first Olympic Games for McMaster and Malone while Phillip made her Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil where she was the VI’s youngest athlete and the first to represent the Territory in aquatics at any Olympics.

While Olympian Eldred Henry had an automatic qualification to compete in the shot put at Tokyo 2020, ongoing recovery from an injury in his throwing arm resulted in the decision to step down from the team.

“I am proud to present our athletes for Tokyo 2020,” said Chef Harrigan-Scott, a three times Olympian in the 100m sprint. “Even though COVID-19 has drastically changed the dynamics of the Olympic Games, it did not waiver the determination or drive of our brilliant athletes. They have prepared vigorously to represent the Virgin Islands in their respective events coming up in the next few weeks and, after communicating with each of the athletes and watching their preparatory competitions leading up to Tokyo 2020, I am confident that they will make these Virgin Islands proud.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Tokyo 2020 Games to be rescheduled by one year to take place in the summer of 2021, the IOC, Tokyo 2020 Organisers and the Government of Japan have issued stringent protocols set out in regularly updated Playbooks to ensure the health and safety of all athletes, personnel, delegates, media and the people of Japan. The strict measures for the VI delegation are overseen by appointed COVID Liaison Officers (CLOs) BVIOC Secretary General Mr. Lloyd Black and Chef Harrigan-Scott.

The Chef de Mission highlighted how the response to the pandemic has differentiated Tokyo 2020 from previous Olympic Games. Precautions include restrictive movement of the delegation, strict COVID-19 counter measures which include daily temperature and COVID-19 testing, the inability to attend other sporting events, limited-to-no guest allowance in the Olympic Village, the lack of spectators from foreign countries, no site seeing by the delegation and every movement in Tokyo and Japan needing to be pre-approved by the Japanese Government.

“The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games probably are one of the most anticipated Games in sports,” said Mr. Penn. “The continuing changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have been quite a challenge and on behalf of the BVIOC, I highly commend all our athletes and Chef de Mission for their focus, determination and tireless efforts which have resulted in thorough preparation and impressive performances with new national records set in all three disciplines by Chantel, Kyron and Elinah in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Games. We are sad that Eldred will not be joining the team in person but intend to include him in our reports from Tokyo 2020. We are extremely proud of all our athletes have achieved thus far and will be in Japan to give our support and to watch them perform at the 32nd Olympiad.”

The delegation to Tokyo will include BVIOC President Mr. Ephraim Penn, Secretary General Mr. Lloyd Black, athlete coaches Mr. Lennox Graham (McMaster), Mr. Dwight Phillipe (Malone), Mr. Brien Moffitt (Phillip) and Mr. Winston Potter (team coach). Dr. The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley MHA, Deputy Premier, Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture is also slated to attend the Games pending travel restrictions.

“I want to congratulate these hardworking individuals for this momentous achievement. It is even more exciting knowing that we have athletes, through their hard work, who are poised to compete for medal and I plan to be there to cheer them along waving our Virgin Islands flag. I wish all our athletes well; we are extremely proud of you!” said the Dr. The Honourable Minister Wheatley.

Daily updates will be posted on the BVIOC social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and reports will be disseminated to media from the BVIOC PRO, Sofia Fay, Broadsword Communications, who will be in Tokyo to cover the VI’s athletes.

Shot putter Eldred Henry steps out of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games due to elbow injury


Official Joint Statements Eldred Henry, BVI Athletics Association, BVI Olympic Committee

BVI shot putter Eldred Henry at the Doha 2019 World Athletics Championships. Photo credit: CM Farrington Photography

On Monday, June 28, 2021 national shot put champion and Olympian, Eldred Henry communicated with the BVI Athletics Association President, Mr. Steve Augustine to advise that, due to the recovery process from an injury in his right elbow, he would not be competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer.

“It is with deep sadness that I have had to make the tough call not to compete in the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan this summer. The injury in the elbow of my throwing arm is one that has been an underlying issue for a few months but which was being treated and kept at bay through my pre-COVID-19 training regime which allowed me to compete at the beginning of this season. Unfortunately, the injury flared up during my warmup at the 2021 Track Meet on May 15 in South California and required further investigation including an MRI.

“The treatment and full recovery process requires more time than is left for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and after consultation with my coach Tony Dougherty and doctors working on the treatment, I conferred with the BVIAA and BVI Olympic Committee and it was agreed that I would not compete in Japan and risk putting my athletic career in jeopardy. Instead I will concentrate on making a full and proper recovery to regain my optimal performance level for the future Games coming up in 2022 and leading up to Paris 2024. I am grateful for all the support I receive from both the BVIAA and the BVIOC and feel frustrated and disappointed not to be able to represent my country at the Olympics this year. I will be in daily contact with the athletes attending Tokyo 2020 and look forward to supporting the team all the way,” said Henry.

In his consultation with President Augustine, Henry explained that while the treatment is working, the recovery is still ongoing and that the technical functionality is not fully restored. While willing to compete if that was the consensus of the BVIAA and the BVIOC, it was clear that if Henry was to proceed with participating at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the restrictions of the injury would impede his ability to throw at his best distances and he would risk further damage to his elbow and hand.

“Eldred Henry is clearly one of our leading athletes and I was very sorry to learn that the extent of his injuries will now take him off the roster for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Our primary sympathies are with Eldred whose training and focus were geared towards the ultimate competition at these rescheduled Olympics. We know that in the best of conditions he would have done us proud and are in complete agreement that he should not compete while recovering from an injury that will directly affect his performance and possibly his future athletic career. We understand that the intensive treatment programme Eldred is undergoing is designed to deliver a solid result and we wish him all the best on his road to recovery and training to get him back on track for the upcoming competitions including the World Championships in Oregon, USA in July 2022 Oregon,” said Augustine.

In a letter dated June 28, 2021, the BVIAA officially notified the BVIOC that Henry would no longer be in the team of track and field athletes going to Tokyo 2020 this summer.

“The BVIOC and the Chef de Mission, Mrs. Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, as Team BVI’s Olympic family are very empathetic to Eldred’s situation and understand the frustration and disappointment that comes with making the final decision not to compete at an Olympic Games. Eldred has trained hard under challenging conditions. He told us that he was feeling at his peak in February 2020 and had been ready to impress in the summer of 2020. The pandemic had interrupted his training schedule and his competition level preparations and just as he was getting back on track, the latent injury put a stop to his programme.

“Eldred has impressed us with his resilience and dedication to his sport and his desire to represent his country with pride. He remains our top shot put athlete and we are proud of all that he has achieved thus far and know there is more to come under the continued training and guidance of his long-time coach, Anthony Dougherty. We will continue to support Eldred during his recovery period and his future focus on preparations for the upcoming major competitions including the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the 2022 CACs, Santiago 2023 Panam Games and Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC.

Henry was the first of the VI’s athletes to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games when he threw the shot put a distance of 21.47m.(70′ 5 1/4 “) at the Kingsville, Texas meet in 2019 to also secure the outdoor national, OECS, GMAC and NCAA DII records with his personal best throw. He also holds the indoor shot put national, OECS and NCAA DII records with a throw of 20.61m (60′ 7.5”). He is a CAC bronze medalist. His highest world men’s shot put ranking is #20 and is ranked #6 in the region.

Tokyo 2020 would have been Henry’s second Olympics with his first appearance at the Rio 2016 Games.

Olympic Day June 23, 2021 – #StrongerTogether

In the British Virgin Islands, in-person Olympic Day runs were hosted on Saturday, June 19 on the islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke. Photo: BVIOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today launches “Stronger Together”, a global Olympic campaign that celebrates athletes by showcasing their journey to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and how they kept moving even when the world around them stopped. The story celebrates their strength, resilience and determination to bring hope, unity and inspiration to people around the world.

Timed to launch ahead of Olympic Day (23 June), the story features world-renowned athletes, including past and present Olympians Usain Bolt, Naomi Osaka, Andre De Grasse, Yusra Mardini and Nyjah Houston. Tony Hawk is also present, representing the skateboarding community as they enter their first-ever Games.

It focuses on a people-centric message of Stronger Together, emphasising the IOC’s message of solidarity and the belief that the world moves forward only when it moves together, and the irresistible power of the Olympic Games to unite people, communities and societies across the globe.

The film can be watched here.

The #StrongerTogether campaign has been designed to unite people around the world while building excitement for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Online fan engagement

On 23 June, a number of activities will take place on the IOC’s digital platforms to celebrate Olympic Day. People around the world will be able to connect, chat and get inspired by some of the world’s best athletes, including through a dedicated Olympic Day yoga session with Christy Prior, live chats with Usain Bolt and Japanese surfer Kanoa Igarashi, plus workout sessions and a Q&A with tennis star Venus Williams, to name just a few of the activities. These will focus on both physical and mental strength, and will include workouts as well as advice on mindfulness and well-being.

Olympic Day around the world

Some 110 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) around the world are also planning to encourage people to get active on Olympic Day. In-person activities around the world held where the situation permits, include Olympic Day runs, outdoor games for families, introductions to new sports, meetings with Olympians and workshops on the Olympic values. Digital initiatives, such as virtual Olympic challenges, online workouts, virtual live chats with Olympians, online quizzes and webinars on the Olympic values, will also be organised by NOCs. In the British Virgin Islands, in-person Olympic Day runs were hosted on Saturday, June 19 on the islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke and on Sunday, June 27, the BVI Olympic Committee will host the Territory’s first BVI Beach Games with sporting activities for all ages and abilities hosted by the National Federations for rugby, sailing, volleyball and football encouraging people to experience the Olympic Day message to Move, Learn and Discover”.

Olympic Virtual Series

The finals of the first-ever Olympic Virtual Series, the Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports, will be broadcast live on olympics.com on 23 June.

Virtual sports fans can choose if they want to watch the Main Olympic Live Broadcast or specific disciplines. The sports featured are: baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing and motor sport.

“Lausanne Capitale Olympique” run

On 23 June, the “Lausanne Capitale Olympique” run, organised by the City of Lausanne (Switzerland), where the IOC is headquartered, will be held digitally for the first time.

The organisers have devised a route of around 7km along the shores of Lake Geneva to discover some iconic places linked to Olympism and sport in Lausanne. Along the route, various personalities will provide comments and encouragement, including the IOC President, who will launch the run. You can take part here.

IOC President Bach: “Let’s celebrate the precious Olympic spirit”

“In this extraordinary Olympic year, celebrating Olympic Day is even more special than usual,” said the IOC President, Thomas Bach. “On this Olympic Day, when the entire world has been facing the same struggles and fears because of the global coronavirus pandemic for far too long, the power of sport to bring hope and optimism takes on an even greater significance. Solidarity, hope and optimism – this is what the power of sport is all about. This is why on this Olympic Day, let us stand together to celebrate the precious Olympic spirit,” he continued.

Olympic Day celebrates the revival of the Olympic Games

The idea of celebrating an Olympic Day was adopted at the 42nd IOC Session in St Moritz in January 1948. The chosen date celebrates the founding of the IOC at the Sorbonne, Paris, on 23 June 1894, where Pierre de Coubertin revived the Olympic Games.

The first Olympic Day was celebrated that same year on 23 June 1948 and, 30 years later, in the 1978 edition of the Olympic Charter, the IOC recommended that all NOCs organise an Olympic Day to promote the Olympic Movement.

Over the last 20 years, Olympic Day has been associated with Olympic Day runs all over the world. First launched in 1987, the runs were about encouraging all NOCs to celebrate Olympic Day and promote the practice of mass sport.

More information about Olympic Day can be found here.

BVIOC to host Olympic Day runs and inaugural BVI Beach Games

The BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC), in collaboration with member national federations will host the first community BVI Beach Games at Brandywine Bay Beach from 10:00am – 4:00pm on Sunday, June 27, 2021.

The BVI Beach Games is an initiative that was first introduced at the BVIOC AGM by the BVI Rugby Football Union as a potential community event following the successful beach rugby and CrossFit fundraiser they organised in November last year.

Working with the national federations for rugby, volleyball, football, sailing and triathlon as well as Castaways CrossFit, the BVIOC is facilitating a community-oriented event aimed at encouraging residents of all ages to try a sport and get active.

The day will feature mini tournaments, pick-up games and an opportunity for anyone to try the aforementioned sports.

“These inaugural games will feature sports that already have a beach version so we know that the land based events are suited to be played in sand,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “We are excited to have a fun, healthy and physically active family-oriented event in a safe, outdoor space where the community can get together while maintaining their social distance in keeping with current protocols.”

The BVI Beach Games will include music entertainment, bouncy castles, food and ice cream for sale by Brandywine Estate Restaurant and Icy Treats as well as a bar. Recycling of disposables will be in effect and managed by Green & Clean VI Ltd. A collection table for the donation of non-perishable items for the Family Support Network will be set up as a charitable community out-reach element of the day.

The event will be the first of two annual beach games planned with the second beach games to be hosted in November 2021.

“The long term goal is to develop these disciplines that are already played as beach sports competitively at regional and international level with a view to inviting our neighbours in the USVI, St Maarten and Puerto Rico in the winter of 2022 and hosting the first Regional Beach Games possibly in the winter of 2023 provided COVID-19 travel protocols make it viable,” said Penn.

This event will take place the weekend after the traditional 1 or 2-mile Olympic Day run/walk on Saturday, June 19 in collaboration with the BVI Athletics Association and starting at 7:00am (registration at 6:30am) from the A.O. Shirley Grounds, Tortola and a 3-mile walk/run managed by the Road Runners’ Club and starting at 6:00am from the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Virgin Gorda. Cyclists are also welcome to join an Olympic Day ride in VG which will depart from the college at 6:00am.

Attendees at both the Olympic Day events and the BVI Beach Games will be required to observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing a mask and frequent hand sanitising while at the event.

BVIOC distributes Panam Sports coach funding to national federations

BVIOC presents coach hiring funds from Panam Sports to its national federations
BVI National Federations receive coach hiring funds from Panam Sports distributed by the BVIOC

The BVI Olympic Committee distributed cheques totaling $100,000 from Panam Sports to 14 of its member federations on June 26, 2020. The funds are part of Panam Sports’ special project for the hiring of coaches in support of sports development in the Americas.

The 14 national federations which currently are active and which are recipients of the coaching funds include Archery, Athletics, Basketball, Cycling, Football, Rugby, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Sailing, Softball/Baseball, Squash, Swimming and Volleyball.

“Coaching is a fundamental part of the success of any athlete or team and the development of sports,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “The BVIOC applied to receive its allocation of $100,000 from Panam Sports which earmarked the money specifically for the hiring of coaches. The BVIOC and its national federations are very appreciative of the funding which is yet another demonstration of Panam Sports’ continued commitment to supporting the growth and development of sports across its 41 member nations which includes the Virgin Islands.”

The funding for coaches is one of the latest tangible resources Panam Sports has made available to the BVIOC and its member federations. Sports and athletes receive the direct benefits which the BVIOC apply for whether it’s through a donation of training equipment, funds for repairs to facilities – including the replacement of the Mondo track at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds or through development initiatives such as coach training sessions.

Panam Sports is also engaged with all athletes across the continent with its ongoing virtual support sessions featuring professional experts in all aspects of sports both physical and psychological. The virtual sessions were introduced as part of the organizations’ response to the impact of COVID-19 on athletes and their training and competition programmes in the lead up to the now rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

About Panam Sports

The Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) was established on August 8th, 1948 and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the continental Association of the NOCs of the Americas. In 2017 the organization was rebranded as Panam Sports.

Its principal objects are the celebration and conduct of the Pan American Games and the promotion, development and protection of sport, as well as the Olympic Movement, in the Americas through its member NOCs. The current President, Neven Ilic, has held the post since 2017.

New date for BVIOC community walks to mark Olympic Day

The BVI Olympic Committee has rescheduled the community walks to mark Olympic Day to now take place on Saturday, July 4, 2020 with no changes to the original locations and registration time of 5:30am.

“The air quality forecast for Saturday, June 27 was cause for concern and after consultation with the Chief Medical Officer and the walk organisers, we decided that it was in the best interest of all participants to reschedule the Olympic Day Community Walks to take place at the same time next Saturday, July 4,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “We realise that this may cause some disruption to plans but we would like to see more persons able to join in the walks in their neighbourhood and to move and stay active and encourage folks to mark the new date in their calendars.”

The BVIOC in collaboration with its National Federations and community groups will be hosting early morning community walks throughout the Virgin Islands to promote the Olympic Day message to #StayActive.

Registration for the walks in Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada will start at 5:30am in all locations apart from in Sea Cow’s Bay which will start at 6:00am and Brewer’s Bay which will start at 5:15am. Registration locations are as follows:
Basketball court, West End; Myett’s car park, Cane Garden Bay; Nichol’s Beach Bar, Brewer’s Bay; Manuel Reef car park, Sea Cow’s Bay; Tortola Sports Club, Road Town; YEP in Long Look and Trellis Bay car park in East End. Walks also will take place in Jost Van Dyke, registration in front of the Government Administration buildings, Great Harbour and at the HLSCC in The Valley, Virgin Gorda and the Claudia Creque Education Center in Anegada.

Walk managers include volunteers from the VI Archery Association, BVI Athletics Association, BVI Rugby, Taekwondo, BVI Squash Federation, VI Softball/Baseball Association, YEP, TSC, Brewer’s Bay Action Committee, Jost Van Dyke Resilience Team led by Mr. Mark Morris, Mr. Milton McLean and Sister Island Coordinator, Ms Sasha Flax.

Staggered start times will be managed to keep walking groups to a maximum of 20 persons with 6ft distance between participating households. Walkers are requested to cooperate with the walk managers in their efforts to keep the activity safe for everyone.

Participants will receive a free tee shirts and Dasani Water and Powerade distributed by Road Town Wholesale on a first-come-first-serve basis. Walkers are advised to also bring their own water to ensure proper hydration. Organisers are requesting the return of the empty plastic bottles so that they may be properly disposed of in the recycling bins.

In the interests of public health and safety, potential participants are advised to stay home if feeling unwell, running a temperature or living in the same household as quarantined persons.

About Olympic Day
June 23 is marked in the international sporting calendar as international Olympic Day. Originally observed by just 9 countries on that day in 1948, the IOC launched the symbolic run in 1987 which encouraged all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to celebrate Olympic Day and promote the practice of mass sport. From 45 participating NOCs in the first edition in 1987, the numbers have grown to more than 100 participating NOCs.

Today, Olympic Day is built on the three pillars “move”, “learn” and “discover” integrating sports, education and cultural aspects to broaden the community reach and appeal. and to motivate and encourage people of all ages and abilities to engage in healthy, physical activity.

In 2012, the BVIOC was one of the few NOCs to host a celebration of all sports on Olympic Day at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. The morning of activity started with a 2-mile run followed by a discussion panel featuring local sporting personalities and moderated by Mr. Rey O’Neal. The action continued with National Federations showcasing their sports and encouraging public participation and ended with a performance by the Lashing Dogs. This format of interactive engagement was adopted as the global template in 2017 at which time the BVIOC officially launched its annual Sports Festival to mark Olympic Day.

BVIOC organises community walks to mark Olympic Day

Simone Foster, an annual participant, celebrates the end of an Olympic Day walk in the Virgin Islands

The BVI Olympic Committee in collaboration with its National Federations and community groups will be hosting early morning community walks throughout the Virgin Islands on Saturday, June 27, 2020 to promote the Olympic Day message to #StayActive.

The community walks will take place in lieu of the annual interactive Sports Festival which officially have taken place since 2017 to mark Olympic Day.

“This year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the BVIOC to rethink its programme of an interactive discussion session and mini sports clinics planned for the 2020 Sports Festival and to organize an activity that would be compliant with the current local health protocols and social distancing measures” said Ephraim Penn, President, BVIOC. “With our low rate of infection and no current active cases, the proposal to host regulated walks in communities throughout the Districts met with approval from the Chief Medical Officer. The walks will start as early in the morning as curfew restrictions allow to try and beat the heat and will follow easy routes so as to be manageable by all ages and abilities.”

Registration for the walks will start at 5:30am in all locations apart from in Sea Cow’s Bay which will start at 6:00am and Brewer’s Bay which will start at 5:15am. Registration locations are as follows:
Basketball court, West End; Myett’s car park, Cane Garden Bay; Nichol’s Beach Bar, Brewer’s Bay; Manuel Reef car park, Sea Cow’s Bay, Tortola Sports Club, Road Town; YEP in Long Look and Trellis Bay car park in East End. Walks also will take place in Jost Van Dyke, registration in front of the Government Administration buildings, Great Harbour and at the HLSCC in The Valley, Virgin Gorda.

Walk managers include volunteers from the VI Archery Association, BVI Athletics Association, BVI Rugby, Taekwondo, BVI Squash Federation, VI Softball/Baseball Association, YEP, TSC, Brewer’s Bay Action Committee, Jost Van Dyke Resilience Team led by Mr. Mark Morris, Mr. Milton McLean and Sister Island Coordinator, Ms Sasha Flax.

Staggered start times will be managed to keep walking groups to a maximum of 20 persons with 6ft distance between participating households. Walkers are requested to cooperate with the walk managers in their efforts to keep the activity safe for everyone.

Participants will receive a free tee shirts and Dasani Water and Powerade distributed by Road Town Wholesale on a first-come-first-serve basis. Walkers are advised to also bring their own water to ensure proper hydration. Organisers are requesting the return of the empty plastic bottles so that they may be properly disposed of in the recycling bins.

In the interests of public health and safety, potential participants are advised to stay home if feeling unwell, running a temperature or living in the same household as quarantined persons.

About Olympic Day
June 23 is marked in the international sporting calendar as international Olympic Day. Originally observed by just 9 countries on that day in 1948, the IOC launched the symbolic run in 1987 which encouraged all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to celebrate Olympic Day and promote the practice of mass sport. From 45 participating NOCs in the first edition in 1987, the numbers have grown to more than 100 participating NOCs.

Today, Olympic Day is built on the three pillars “move”, “learn” and “discover” integrating sports, education and cultural aspects to broaden the community reach and appeal. and to motivate and encourage people of all ages and abilities to engage in healthy, physical activity.

In 2012, the BVIOC was one of the few NOCs to host a celebration of all sports on Olympic Day at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. The morning of activity started with a 2-mile run followed by a discussion panel featuring local sporting personalities and moderated by Mr. Rey O’Neal. The action continued with National Federations showcasing their sports and encouraging public participation and ended with a performance by the Lashing Dogs. This format of interactive engagement was adopted as the global template in 2017 at which time the BVIOC officially launched its annual Sports Festival to mark Olympic Day.

New dates for Tokyo 2020 creates certainty, eases pressure

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the new dates for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on March 30 which now will be celebrated from July 23 to August 8, 2021 and the Paralympic Games will be celebrated from August 24 until September 5, 2021.

These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organisation of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ephraim Penn, President of the BVI Olympic Committee along with National Olympic Committee representatives from around the world attended a video conference on March 27 and were solicited for any comments and concerns. The new dates – exactly one year after those originally planned for 2020 (Olympic Games: 24 July to 9 August 2020 and Paralympic Games: 25 August to 6 September 2020) – were decided based on three main considerations:

  1. To protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus.
  2. To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.
  3. The global international sports calendar.

The new dates for Tokyo 2020 will ease the pressure on organisers of qualification events and enable them to reschedule competitions once the COVID-19 impacts can be assessed and restrictions reduced without compromising athletes’ health. International Federations are also requested to only confirm upcoming qualification events in their respective calendars once they can guarantee fair access and fair and appropriate preparation for the competing athletes and teams. The IOC President, Thomas Bach hosted a conference call with the Global Network of Athletes’ Commission Representatives on Tuesday, March 31 to layout these decisions.

All athletes already qualified and quota places already assigned for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will remain unchanged. This is a result of the fact that these Olympic Games Tokyo, in agreement with Japan, will remain the Games of the XXXII Olympiad. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented.

“The BVI Olympic Committee continues to stand by our qualified athletes and hopefuls for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games which now will be held in the Summer of 2021,” said Penn. “Extensions from Olympic Solidarity for financing programmes such as Olympic Scholarships for Athletes for Tokyo 2020 means that we will be able to keep up with the monthly payments to our athletes as well as top it up with the sponsorship money from iForex. Panam Sports has also reached out to us and we are in discussions on how they can support the BVI and our athletes on the road to the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Games.”

“I am in direct communication with all of our athletes who have Tokyo 2020 in their sights and can help them with answering or flagging any issues relating to the preparations for the Games,” said Chef de Mission Tahesia Harrigan-Scott. “So far, we are on a positive trajectory and working on readjusting our preparation timelines for the new dates of the Summer Olympic Games.”

Tokyo 2020 postponement sees spirit of resilience and cooperation dominate global response

The postponed 2020 Summer Olympic Games will remain in Tokyo – PHOTO: Yoshikazu Sekiguchi

The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, held a conference call this morning to discuss the constantly changing environment with regard to COVID-19 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. Yesterday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is “accelerating”. There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.

In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC said that while the postponement was an understandable outcome of the talks and the current pandemic, the focus of the BVIOC will turn to supporting the athletes and any impact the delay may have on their psyche and preparations.

“Moving the dates to an unknown time in the future is hard on the athletes but this is not the first time that our athletes have had to face adverse situations and we will be doing our utmost to support them and to ease the strain of preparing for the future,” said Mr. Penn. The BVIOC provides a monthly training scholarship and has also secured sponsorship from iForex to assist VI’s Tokyo 2020 athletes in their preparations for the Games.

“While initially I was disappointed with the IOC’s decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Games, on reflection I’m thankful that they are putting our health first,” said Chantel Malone, the Lima 2019 Pan American Games VI long jump gold medalist. “With everything going on, the restrictions definitely put a limitation on training with regards to what we can and can’t do so, all in all, postponing these Summer Olympics is for the greater good and will give us more time to be even more prepared to produce awesome results. Every cloud has it’s silver lining!” Tokyo 2020 will be Malone’s first Olympic Games.

“It’s unfortunate that these 2020 Summer Olympic Games have been postponed because we have been training so hard in preparation but we understand the decision to put our health and safety first and we’ll be making the most of the extra time available to get ready for this important competition,” said Eldred Henry, the VI’s shot putter whose first Olympic appearance was at Rio 2016.

“It’s disappointing after all this time training and competing in what few meets we had in the lead up to the Games in July but we will overcome this hurdle and look to the future as we continue with our preparations. We just hope that our sponsors, the VI government and our supporters continue to stand by our side during this extended period,” said Kyron McMaster, the VI’s Commonwealth Games 400m hurdles gold medalist who will make his Olympic debut at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games.

Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020 in consultation with Mr. Penn remains in constant contact with the Virgin Islands’ athletes confirmed or hoping to attend the 2020 Summer Olympic Games and will continue to relay information received from the IOC and the organisers as they decide on the new dates and associated changes.

“I have an open line of communication with all our Tokyo 2020 confirmed and hopeful athletes and our real time conversation enables me to keep them up to date with correct information from the official channels. Right now, the news has been quite hard on them as they have been as focused as they can to compete in their best form in July. They are recalibrating but overall they are in a positive mindset and are determined to work with the outcome of the IOC’s decision to postpone and plan to make the most of the extended time to train hard. It is also really important that the support and encouragement behind them continues,” said Chef Harrigan-Scott.

The global community has rallied to the IOC’s news with three major Tokyo 2020 sponsors – Proctor & Gamble, Intel and Coca-Cola – all reaffirming their commitment to the Games. Organisers of major Games including the 2021 World Athletics Championships slated for August 6 – 15 in Eugene, Oregon and the Commonwealth Youth Games Trinbago 2021 scheduled for August 1 – 7 in Trinidad & Tobago have already communicated their willingness to shift their events to accommodate the new date for Tokyo 2020.

Panam Sports in a press release also stated that it will maintain all of its aid programs for athletes, coaches and National Olympic Committees. They also said that once the new dates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are defined, Panam Sports will work together with the IOC, the International Federations, the NOCs and the athletes to be able to adjust the schedules for the competitions that follow, in particular the Junior Pan American Games of Cali 2021 that were scheduled between June 5-20.