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‘Hill not worthy of statue’ former judge

Clarence Hill’s unprecedented Olympic feat is not worthy of having a statue erected in his honour.

That’s the opinion of past boxing administrator, referee and judge Leon Raynor who strongly opposes Government’s plans to erect a monument of the former heavyweight boxer in honour of his bronze medal winning display at the 1976 Montreal Games.

“There has been much discussion and debate on whether or not to erect a statue in honour of Bermuda’s former Olympian Clarence Hill,” Raynor said. “I am not disputing Mr Hill’s accomplishments nor his notable contribution to the Island’s sports culture and history, he is a tremendous athlete. However, to recognise him as a worthy Olympic competitor is a bit of an overstatement, considering he did not perform to his potential at this once in a lifetime event.”

According to Raynor, Hill’s late trainer Gary Smith highlighted concerns over the boxer’s performance in a semi-final loss to Romanian Mircea Simon in a report he submitted after returning from Montreal.

“On their return to the Island Mr Smith reported to me what took place at the Olympics,” Raynor said. “I was bewildered yet surprised by his report.

“As per Mr Smith, Mr Hill did not represent the Island to the best of his ability. Mr Smith thought Clarence could’ve beaten this guy (Simon) quite easily but did not give it his all for fear of fighting Stevenson (late Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson) for the gold medal.

“The decision to honour such non-patriotic behaviour is the reason I do not agree with the erection of a statue. For his recognition, might I suggest to name a sports facility in his honour, weighing less on the taxpayers’ purse.”

In response to the claims, Hill said: “I gave my all in the semi-final and actually thought I’d won. Even the people in the audience thought I’d won because when the winner was announced they booed. I thought I gave it my all even though I was hurt.”

Hill lost the bout 5-0 on points.

The Hall of Fame boxer also dismissed claims that he intentionally avoided facing eventual gold medallist Stevenson in the ring.

“Stevenson wasn’t even there as far as I was concerned,” Hill said. “At that time I wasn’t thinking about any Cuban or whether he was a good fighter because my thoughts were on wining the gold medal.”

Asked did his late trainer ever express any concerns about his performance against Simon, Hill replied: “He’s not alive to verify, but he never indicated to me that he wasn’t satisfied with my performance.”

During last month’s Throne Speech Government revealed its intentions to erect a bronze statue of Hill which has been met with mixed reaction among the public.

Clarence Hill

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Published December 01, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated November 30, 2012 at 7:45 pm)

‘Hill not worthy of statue’ former judge

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