JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Trailblazing 1948 Olympian, Dr. Cynthia Thompson will be the official race starter for the inaugural St. Hugh’s Swans 5k run/walk on February 1.
  • The spritely ninety-one year old is a past student of St. Hugh’s High School.
  • The race will commence from Marescaux Road by the Mico University College lay-by to North Street to South Camp Road to Caledonia Avenue and finishing at the entrance to St. Hugh’s High School on Leinster Road.

Trailblazing 1948 Olympian, Dr. Cynthia Thompson will be the official race starter for the inaugural St. Hugh’s Swans 5k run/walk this Saturday, February 1. She will ring the traditional school bell to start of proceedings at 7:30 a.m.

The spritely ninety-one year old, who is a past student of St. Hugh’s High School, shares the distinction, with fellow school mate, Vinton Beckett, as being two of only four women on Jamaica’s first Olympic team in 1948. Dr. Thompson qualified for the 100m finals and 200m semi-finals, making her Jamaica’s first female finalist in an Olympic event. This was despite falling ill on a harrowing journey via a banana boat for 14 days to London to participate in the Olympics. Not to be overlooked too, is that she set an Olympic record in the 200m heats, which was broken by the eventual gold medal winner Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands.

“It is a great honour to be asked to be the official starter for the Swans 5k race. I am extremely thrilled to participate in this special event to kick off my former school’s 115th anniversary. Although I could not run this race, this time around, I will be on hand to support it because my school taught me the tenants of discipline, fairplay and developed in me, a spirit of camaraderie,” Dr. Thompson said in an interview.

Now a retired pediatrician since 2000, Dr. Thompson was also a member of the famed Tigerbelles Women’s Track Club at Tennessee State University (TSU), training ground to the likes of the US track legend, Wilma Rudolph and was inducted into their Sports Hall of Fame. Other achievements include achieving her first international record in 1946 at the fifth Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, where she won gold for the 100m and silver in the 50m.

In addition to Dr. Thompson, other celebrity past students will be on hand to participate in Swans 5k such as popular broadcaster Naomi Francis, Sportmaxx’s marketing manager Tanya Lee; media personality, Fae Ellington and fitness coach and entertainer Stacious. The latter will lead off warm-up activities at 6:30 a.m.

The race will commence from Marescaux Road by the Mico University College lay-by to North Street to South Camp Road to Caledonia Avenue and finishing at the entrance to St. Hugh’s High School on Leinster Road.

The event is partly sponsored through the kind consideration of associate sponsors Guardian Group/Guardian Life and Hi-Lyte.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation and the sports department of St. Hugh’s.

Registration continues today and tomorrow from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the race office located at St. Hugh’s High School. For further information, persons can visit: shpsa.webs.com.