Wellman has runway named in his honour
Brian Wellman's name has found a permanent home at the National Stadium after the four-times Olympic triple jumper had the jump runway named after him.
Norbert Simons, the director of youth and sports, whose idea it was to honour Wellman, explained that it was Government's intention to do so at this year's Carifta Games, but that it was delayed when the Games were postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The wall, at the foot of the grandstand, contains the name “Brian Wellman Runway” on both sides along with a photograph of him in action and a list of his best achievements. Wellman was also presented with a cheque for $10,000 by Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Community Affairs and Sports.
“Brian Wellman attended the University of Arkansas where he won two NCAA outdoor triple jump titles,” Minister Foggo told the audience which included Wellman's parents Wilbert and Gloria Wellman, former track and field colleagues and youngsters from the Pacers Track Club who were at the stadium training.
“He also represented Bermuda at the Olympics, the World Championships, Commonwealth Games, Pan Am Games and the CAC Championships.”
Wellman competed at the Seoul Games in 1988, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000. He was voted Bermuda Athlete of the Year five straight years between 1992 and 1996, the first five-times winner of the award.
During that time Wellman was one of the world's top triple jumpers, an outstanding achievement for a youngster who started with the Bermuda Pacers in 1983. They honoured him in 2017 by inducting him into their first Hall of Fame along with six others.
Wellman set a World Indoor record in Barcelona in 1995 of 17.72 metres while his best outdoor jump was 17.62, both Bermuda records.
“He is a shining example that with the right effort, commitment, dedication and the heart and desire to be the best, you can be just like him ... even better,” Minister Foggo told the young athletes.
“You're looking at a world-class athlete and it is a big deal! That's why the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation, under the leadership of Norbert Simons, wanted to pay tribute to our Bermudian hero.
“Mr Wellman, you deserve what you are having done for you here today. You are a Bermudian hero, we love you and we honour you.”
Donna Raynor, president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association and a former Bermuda team-mate of Wellman, described him as a dedicated athlete. “Brian was a fantastic athlete, still is a fantastic person and I am so happy and excited that they are honouring Brian today,” Raynor said.
“We travelled years and years and years together, to several meets, and I always saw Brian give it 100 per cent. Just because you come from this little island of Bermuda does not mean you cannot be the best in the world.
“We have one of the best in the world in Brian and I hope after today when you see Brian you remember who he is and you go up to him, introduce yourself to him and ask him ‘what was your secret?
“I can tell you he was very committed and very passionate about the sport of track and field. He would give you statistics about track and field, not just triple jump, but 100 and 800 runners.”
Wellman thanked his parents among others for helping him to reach the top. “There are a lot of people I have to thank, obviously my parents and other people who contributed to this award also,” he said. “It just shows that it is possible, no matter where you are from, if you put in the time and the dedication. I'm a sports junkie and love to know about the statistics, so the more you are into your sport the better athlete you can become.
“This is not just about me or for me, but being from Bermuda doesn't limit you from being the best in the world. I just hope I can inspire some of you to walk in my footsteps or do better because I never won an Olympic gold. You have to dream big, believe you can achieve it.”