He has touched the track at five different Olympic Games and now Bahamian legendary quarter-miler Christopher “Fireman” Brown will be looking to make the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, his last hurrah as he rides off into the sunset.
Brown, now the head coach of the track and field team at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia in the USA, said he still has some fire left in the tank.
“Yes, definitely. That hasn’t left. God blessed me with the talent and age is nothing but a number so I am looking forward to seeing what kind of times I am able to put down going forward into 2020. I am just excited and ready,” Brown said.
Brown said that if successful in making the team, this will likely be his last Olympics.
He was a part of the “Golden Knights” that won the gold medal in the men’s 4×400 meters (m) relay at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. That team included Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller, and they shocked the world, defeating the Americans for the gold. They won in a national record time of 2:56.72, ending the Americans’ 60-year unbeaten streak at the Olympics in that event.
That time made The Bahamas the third-fastest nation of all-time in that event.
The former national record holder in the open men’s 400m at 44.40 seconds has not participated in a track meet for more than a year, but he said he has been training.
“Even though I took the year off from competing, I didn’t take the year off from training. The body is still active and ready to compete at any minute now. When I return, it will not be focused on the open 400m but more so to help the 4x400m team out,” Brown said. “I just try and maintain and keep my body consistent with what it has been doing. The only difference is that I haven’t been competing. Going forward now, I have to find one or two races to be race sharp come next year. That is going to be my challenge for next year, but I don’t mind because I have been in the game for a while and I know what it takes to get back up to top speed.”
The Eleuthera native said that he is currently going through the conditioning phase of his training and making sure his body is consistent and up to speed with where it needs to be. He said he trains four days out of the week now instead of five.
This year, The Bahamas 4x400m team was not on the track at the 2019 IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Relays in Yokohama, Japan, nor the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Brown said it doesn’t feel right not seeing the country competing out there in the men’s 4x400m relay.
“It is hard, knowing that we have some of the best quarter-milers in the world,” he said. “I think that a lot of our guys are banged up because they have been going for so long. Hopefully this last year and a half will help them to heal properly and be able to help them go for 2020. I spoke to several of them already and they are looking forward to next season. I am looking forward to the season as well.”
At this year’s Doha World Championships, Bahamian Steven Gardiner won the gold medal in the men’s 400m in 43.48 seconds, breaking his own national record and he’s now the sixth-fastest in history. Brown commended Gardiner on his performance.
“I think his performance was great. It was outstanding. You have a 43 (seconds) guy out there and he is on your team and moving forward, that should be motivation for the next generation and the guys who we have competing now. That is a huge feat,” said Brown. “It is now about maintaining that and staying healthy for next year so we can all be able to contribute and be able to bring home another gold medal home for the country.”
At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, the former Norfolk State University standout, along with Andretti Bain, Mathieu and Andrae Williams claimed the silver medal in the men’s 4x400m relay for The Bahamas, posting a time of 2:58.03.
Brown has been known for his 4×400 meters (m) relay feats and podium finishes at the Olympics. He was part of the team that won the bronze medal at the Olympics back in 2000 in Sydney, Australia – his first Olympics at the age of 21. That team included Avard Moncur, Troy McIntosh and Carl Oliver. They ran a time of 2:59.23.
Brown’s last Olympic appearance was in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He along with Alonzo Russell, Mathieu and Gardiner won bronze in the men’s 4x400m relay for The Bahamas in 2:58.49.
Brown is the national record holder in the 800m after he clocked 1:49.54 at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Maracaibo, Venezuela in 1998.
For now, the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Champion in the 400m is taking it one day at a time – trying not to rush anything. He said he knows he is not a 19- or 20-year-old anymore, so he is taking his time and working his way back to top shape. He is not sure when his first meet of the track and field season will be, but he said he is looking forward to it.
The “Fireman” has brought the fire to the track for a long time for his country and has competed at a high level internationally for almost two decades.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism