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Smith bows out after final jump at championships

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Long jumper Tyrone Smith competes in the BNAA National T&F Championships, his final competitive event. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Tyrone Smith thanks the crowd in the main stand after his final leap in the high jump which signaled the end of his jumping career (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Tyrone Smith confirmed that the Bermuda Track and Field Championships on Saturday was his last competitive jump as he prepares to move into a new chapter of his life.

The 36-year-old made his final leap in the long jump, turned to the fans sitting in the main stand, applauded them and said “thank you, Bermuda”, to signal the end of a long career in athletics.

Smith finished second behind LaQuarn Nairn, of Bahamas, who had a winning leap of 7.79 metres, with Smith recording 7.63 metres. Damar Forbes, of Jamaica, was third with a best leap of 7.52 metres.

“As far as I can see that was my last long jump and my last meet,” Smith said. “I’ll be 37 in August and 15 years I’ve been competing for Bermuda, and in the long jump since 2003.”

Smith will soon be relocating from Austin, Texas, to Atlanta to start a new career and says he has no regrets.

“I’ve had a good run, a lot longer than most and I feel like it’s a good time to leave on my terms.,” he said. “It would be great to keep going but I’ve got a great job lined up with a Boston consulting group, which is a top international consulting firm, and I’ve got my MBA now.

“I’ve competed within a certain level of my personal best in my final year and now I’m going off to do something different. It’s hard to say goodbye, for sure, because I still have it in me.

“I just wanted to thank Bermuda for all the support, there are so many people here who worked hard to be able to support us financially. When I first started to compete for Bermuda there was not a lot of funding; now we have a tiered system to help young athletes continue to strive to be great.

“We’ve got Government’s support, the Premier was here tonight and it was great to see.”

Ironically, on the night that he bowed out, Smith got to see Bermuda’s next star jumper, Jah-Nhai Perinchief, perform on home soil in the triple jump where his leap of 16.94 metres in his last attempt is the longest jump on home soil. He earlier achieved the best jump with a leap of 16.79.

“I’ve been waiting for 15 years for somebody else who I can hand this off to, as I’ve been at every major championship for Bermuda since 2006,” Smith said.

“I’m so happy that I can have somebody to pass this off to. I’ve been playing with the idea of having one more [event] next week, but I decided this is going to be it.

“I knew this was my last season four years ago, that the Olympics would be my last meet. I graduated from school and it’s time to go on with my next phase.”

Smith’s wife, Sandi Morris, will be competing for the United States at the Olympics in the pole vault.

“I just get to be a cheerleader, I’ll still go to these things, just be sitting in the stands,“ Smith said. He admitted he is sad not to be going to his final Games in Tokyo in a couple of weeks’ time.

“I’m very disappointed, there is no equity in the qualification system, without making excuses,” he said. “I did everything I could possibly do and left no stone unturned and spent so much money getting from coast to coast competing and working on my body.

“As an athlete, when you know you did everything you could and you come up short, then it’s a slightly different feeling. I don’t have any disappointment in myself, I know I did everything I could.”

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Published July 14, 2021 at 7:58 am (Updated July 14, 2021 at 7:31 am)

Smith bows out after final jump at championships

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