Athletics coach and tragic bike accident victim had an 'unbreakable bond'
Athletics coach Norbert Simons said yesterday he had fostered a “father and son” relationship with up-and-coming sprinter Clevonte Lodge-Bean.
But last Sunday “everything changed” for the Bermuda Pacers Track Club coach and the college-bound 18-year-old when the teenager died after a bike crash.
Mr Lodge-Bean was killed in Sandys as he rode to work.
Mr Simons said: “We take too much for granted when we get on a bike or into a car.
“We need to be mindful that in an instant, everything can change.”
Mr Lodge-Bean had his sights set on the 2024 Olympic Games.
A spokesman for the Bermuda Pacers said Mr Lodge-Bean and his coach had “an unbreakable bond – it was like a father and son relationship”.
Mr Simons, who had coached the youngster since he was 13, said Mr Lodge-Bean was an accomplished sprinter who was a mentor for younger athletes.
He added the teenager was accepted into a college in Texas this year, but the Covid-19 pandemic intervened.
Mr Simons said the runner was in his way to his job at FryDay’s Trampoline Park in Dockyard when his motorcycle was in collision with a car on Somerset Road near Morgan Hill.
The three-time Carifta Games athlete was the sixth road fatality of the year.
Mr Lodge-Bean, who was fighting back from injuries, was a keen planner who researched events such as the 100m, 200m and 400m before he ran.
Mr Simons said: “He studied what he had to do – he kept me on my toes.”
Vic Ball and Mstira Weeks, the owners of FryDay’s, said Mr Lodge-Bean had climbed the ranks over 18 months to become their lead employee on Sundays.
Mr Ball said he was a cheerful staff member, good with customers and younger employees and had “wisdom beyond his years”.
Ms Weeks said: “He was always doing something to make the business better. Any new staff who came on board, he would make them feel comfortable.
“He was a hard worker and a really nice person. When he walked into the room, all you saw was that smile.
“He’s definitely doing to be missed – it’s going to be hard.”
Mr Ball added Mr Lodge-Bean was “a model Bermudian man” with a good sense of humour.
He said: “He was a ball of confidence, very articulate. At his interview, he said that when we hired him, he would be our best employee – he lived up to that expectation.”
Mr Lodge-Bean’s talents were spotted early at Prospect Primary School by his physical education teacher, Mariam Smith, who contacted Cal Simons, the head coach at Pacers.
Mr Simons asked Delphina Lodge, Mr Lodge-Bean’s mother, about her son joining the club.
The club said Mr Simons recognised “a special athlete” who was “destined for greatness”.
The club statement added: “In 2009, Clevonte experienced his first trip to the Russell E Blunt East Coast Invitational Track Meet in the United States. This truly was an eye-opening experience for Clevonte.
“By the age of 11, Clevonte knew that he wanted to compete internationally for his club and his country.
“As he moved up the coaching ranks within the club, from coach Cal Simons to coach Janine Scott, we knew that the best coach for him would be coach Norbert Simons.”
The club said “Clevonte’s name become synonymous for speed” in races in the US, earning him the nickname “the Great Lodge”.
During the 2018 Blunt East Coast Invitational, Mr Lodge-Bean recorded one of the top ten fastest times in the history of the event.
“For ten years, BPTC has had the honour of seeing Clevonte‘s talent take him to great heights in the sport of track and field, while serving as an inspiration to his peers and younger athletes.
“In 2018, he was awarded the Bermuda Pacers Track Club’s Male Athlete of the Year’. He was also the recipient of a junior achievement award and acknowledged by the Government for his outstanding performances.”
Pacers praised his “sportsmanship, his high spirit, enthusiasm, and his great leadership qualities”.
“His influence will never be forgotten, and his name will be legendary in the club and Bermuda’s track and field community.”
Calvin Simons said he was “very energetic, very bright”, dependable with the rest of the team, and a keen student of track and field rules.
Mr Lodge-Bean would keep watch over younger athletes and help calm nerves when the club went abroad.
Club president Wayne Rayner said Mr Lodge-Bean “recognised his skill set and abilities”.
He added: “His aspiration was going to the Olympics; that was one of his goals in life.”
Miniya Wainwright, one of his team-mates, said: “Reality hasn’t hit me yet.
“I haven’t been able to accept the shining star we just lost.”