DOHA, Qatar – Another Bahamian is ascending to the top rung of global recognition, as Pauline Davis-Thompson was honored by the world’s governing body for athletics on Thursday.
Closing out the 52nd International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) Congress at the Qatar National Convention Center, IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe praised the Bahamian “Golden Girl” for the work she has done with world athletics.
Davis-Thompson served as an IAAF council member for the past 12 years and prior to that, was on the IAAF’s Women’s Committee for four years.
She brought a colorful and decorated athletics career to a close in 2000, finishing second on the track in the Olympic final of the women’s 200 meters (m) in Sydney, Australia, but later being upgraded to gold due to a ban for doping to American Marion Jones. That year, she also claimed Olympic gold as a member of The Bahamas’ women’s 4x100m relay team, aptly dubbed the “Golden Girls”.
Davis-Thompson has won a medal at just about every athletics competition she entered, both as a junior and a senior, and enjoyed nearly as much success off the track as she did on it.
On Thursday, after a motion was passed, she was named as an Honorary Life Person Member of the IAAF and will receive a plaque of merit and veteran pin awards, granted as set out in the Council Report.
Davis-Thompson was recognized along with Roberto Gesta de Melo of Brazil who was first elected to the IAAF Council in 1991 and Jose Maria Odriozola of Spain who was first elected in 1999.
The special recognition comes on the eve of the 17th IAAF World Championships at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
Lord Coe said: “Pauline has brought her experience to global management of the sport, and for that, the world thanks her.”
The grand lady of Bahamian track and field was given an Order of Merit Award in 2001, and was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in 2003.
She is also an accomplished coach, having guided former Olympic relay gold medalist Monique Hennagan of the United States and former Olympic finalist and world championships silver medalist Christine Amertil of The Bahamas just to name a couple.
On hand to witness the award presentation was Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) President Drumeco Archer.
Already, it’s been a busy week for The Bahamas as Coach Ronald Cartwright was presented with an IAAF Veteran Pin at the opening awards banquet on Tuesday, and North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) President Mike Sands was recognized and welcomed as an IAAF Council member during the opening of the two-day IAAF Congress on Wednesday. As president of NACAC, one of the six area associations of the IAAF, he automatically becomes an IAAF Council member.
Now, with Lord Coe filing a motion for the awards presented at the opening dinner to be formalized and with that motion being passed, his colleague Davis-Thompson was officially hailed as an Honorary Life Person Member of the IAAF.
Lord Coe said in his report: “In athletics, they see us not just simply as a sport, they see us as a movement for good and for change. Over the next few years, we need to build on those foundations and we need to build on our ability to create stronger partnerships.”
Meanwhile, the start of the IAAF World Championships is just hours away, set to get underway this evening in Doha, Qatar.