The reigning World Champion in the men’s 400 meters, Steven Gardiner, can now add Olympic Gold medalist to his already illustrious résumé.
The Abaco native became the first Bahamian male to win gold in an individual Olympic track event on Thursday, August 5. The 6’4’’ dynamo separated himself from the pack in the closing meters of the men’s 400m final and cruised to history in the time of 43.85 seconds.
Colombia’s Anthony Zambrano followed to win silver for his country in the time of 44.08 seconds. Former Olympic gold medalist, Kirani James of Grenada, rounded out the top three, winning bronze in the time of 44.19 seconds.
The Bahamian national record holder for the event spoke with members of the media of the race. Gardiner shared that he was honored to accomplish such a feat.
“I’m just happy that I’m the chosen one and I was able to do it here, in front of all of the amazing staff and Bahamian media and everyone watching back home,” he expressed. Gardiner added, “I just want to say thank you for all the support and all my hard work has paid off once again. I didn’t let my opponents get the best of me. They were all out there running and I just had a fight in me and wanted to win this so badly.
“Now, it’s mission accomplished.”
It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Gardiner would eventually leave Tokyo, Japan, the 400m Olympic champion. He cruised to victories in the preliminary round, and the semifinal that berthed him a spot in the finals of the event.
Gardiner clocked 45.05 seconds in round one of competition and subsequently clocked 44.14 in the semifinal.
The victory earned him his second Olympic medal. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Gardiner was one-fourth of the men’s 4x400m team, which won the bronze medal. That team featured Gardiner, Grand Bahama natives Michael Mathieu and Alonzo Russell, and Golden Knight Chris Brown.
However, in other Olympic related news, disappointment befell Team Bahamas in round one of the women’s 4x400m. The quartet of Grand Bahamian Brianne Bethel, Megan Moss, Doneisha Anderson and Antonique Strachan was tagged with a Did Not Finish (DNF).
Bethel, who ran the third leg, passed the baton off to Strachan on the anchor leg. After running the first 100m of that leg, Strachan came to a complete stop and was seen limping as she walked off the track.
Asked by The Bahamian media on the ground at the Tokyo Olympics on what happened, Strachan explained she was experiencing knee pain as the team practiced exchanges prior to competition.
“Yesterday we were doing relay exchanges and my knee caught a cramp. I have some inflammation in the area and it’s giving me a lot of discomfort. I wanted to run but at the same time I’ve been through this so many times where I don’t listen to my body and it messes me up later on.
“So, I felt something and I just decided to stop.”
Nonetheless, The Bahamas has one more opportunity to reach the podium in track and field. Reigning Olympic champion of the women’s 400m, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, will compete in the final on Friday, August 6 at 8:35 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.