Within minutes, euphoria and ecstasy were transformed into devastation and disbelief as Canada’s 4 x100-metre men’s relay team was denied a bronze medal at the London Olympics after Jared Connaughton stepped on the line as he rounded the turn on his third leg.
Crushed, the disqualified quartet expressed their disappointment and frustration in many ways.
Who would forget a weeping anchor leg runner Justyn Warner being consoled by his teary-eyed fiancé Nikkita Holder, who a few days before was eliminated in the 100-metre hurdles semi-finals?
Last Friday night, the childhood friends, elite athletes and first-time Olympians were all smiles and laughter as their long-time relationship turned into a lifetime commitment through marriage in the presence of their proud parents, other family members and well-wishers.
Among the guests at the “Old Hollywood” themed wedding in Scarborough were national hurdlers Phylicia George and Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, sprinters Tremaine Harris and Rosalind Emmanuel and coaches Desai Williams and Anthony McCleary.
A graduate of Dunbarton High School in Pickering and the University of Illinois, Holder started training with McCleary – the 2009 Athletics Canada Coach of the Year — two years ago.
“We spoke about the wedding and I told her just as I tell other young people getting into marriage that it’s something that should not be taken lightly, it’s hard work and you have to be prepared to put the effort into it,” said McCleary, who has been married for 22 years. “It’s just like sport or most endeavours in that you reap what you sow.”
Prior to making her Olympic debut, Holder represented Canada at last year’s Daegu world championships and the world indoor championships in Istanbul earlier this year, finishing sixth on both occasions.
Warner, who bowed out in the Olympics 100-metre semi-final with a personal best 10.09 secs, proposed to Holder shortly after returning from the 2011 world championships.
He graduated from Birchmount Collegiate Institute and Texas Christian University and has been competing for Canada for the past seven years.
By RON FANFAIR