My daughter is a rhythmic gymnast and her dream is to compete in the Olympic Games. Athletes who want to be the best, watch the best. She spends hours watching athletes like Camilla Feeley, Nastasya Generalova, and Laura Zeng, trying to capture what makes them so special that they are at the top of their sport.
One evening, she ran into my room with the computer with her usual high pitched “look mommy!” Expecting to see yet another European championship routine, I made room for her and the laptop on my bed.
“Mommy! They have rhythmic gymnastics for people with special needs too! Look!” She went on to tell me that there were lots of routines online, how good they were, and how she’d love to have programs like that for everybody at her gym one day (that is her plan after she retires – to open a gym like her idol Wendy Hilliard). We watched a few videos and she trotted back to her room like she always does, to watch her rhythmic videos in peace.
When she saw that the Special Olympics World Games had rolled around, she sat with me for what seemed like hours looking for any rhythmic gymnastics videos she could find. We watched clips from track, we watched clips from soccer – volleyball, basketball, every sport you can think of – except rhythmic. Eventually we gave up, but I could tell she was disappointed. She wanted to see the best performing from all skill levels. We did go through and see who won though. Nobody from the Caribbean won any rhythmic competitions at the Special Olympics World Games. Like me, she’s always on the look out for winners from the Caribbean too.
Then, just like that, in my Facebook feed I see the lovely face of Sapphire Jackson as she’s welcomed back to Trinidad and Tobago as a gold medal winner. She was on the podium twice in Abu Dhabi – she won a silver medal too. Her welcome back to Tobago made my heart smile.
Reading about her achievements left me thinking… how well did the Caribbean athletes do at the Special Olympics World Games? We always dominate at the Olympics in various sports, so this should be no different, right? It wasn’t.
Here is my UNOFFICIAL analysis of the performance of our beloved Caribbean athletes at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, UAE. This is just me and a spreadsheet and my calculations, so if you see something I need to change, please let me know in the comments. I’m no statistician.
- Caribbean Countries Participating: 17
- Total Number of Caribbean Athletes: 373
- Total Medals Won by Caribbean Athletes: 304
- Total Gold Medals Won by Caribbean Athletes: 107
- Most Athletes: Jamaica – 73
- Most Medals: Trinidad and Tobago – 57
- Most Gold Medals: Trinidad and Tobago – 19
Now this is TOTALLY my own calculation, so don’t beat me up!
I came up with the Power Score because, to me, it is important to highlight how well the region did based on not only the number of medals they brought home, but also the number of athletes they were able to send. Sending an athlete is expensive, so I think that it should be taken into consideration when smaller islands with limited resources do well. The power score is the number of medals divided by the number of athletes participating.
Here are the top 10:
- Trinidad (7th largest population)
- Cuba (largest population)
- Guyana (8th largest population)
- Dominican Republic (2nd largest population)
- Antigua & Barbuda (4th smallest population)
- Barbados (8th smallest population)
- St Kitts & Nevis (smallest population)
- Cayman Islands (2nd smallest population)
[United States ranked between Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico with a population 7 times that of the ENTIRE Caribbean]
- Puerto Rico (4th largest population)
- Dominica (5th largest population)
|Trinidad & Tobago/57||19||15||23|
|St. Vincent & the Grenadines/15||6||6||3|
|St Kitts & Nevis/13||8||2||3|
|Antigua & Barbuda/4||1||2||1|
To search for specific athletes, countries, or watch highlights, visit
https://www.abudhabi2019.org and to learn more about the Special Olympics and programs near you, visit
Related Reading: Naomi Osaka vs. Serena Williams – http://socamom.com/w/haitian-and-japanese-tennis-player-naomi-osaka-defeats-serena-williams-at-the-u-s-open-a-lesson-in-fairness/
Did you watch the Special Olympics World Games?