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The Saga of Kim Collins & His Seismic Impacts on A Small Island

The Saga of Kim Collins & His Seismic Impacts on A Small Island

Posted by Dalton Higgins on February 24, 2014

While you all are busy pre-tallying the upcoming Commonwealth or Pan American Games medal counts for the larger, wealthier, western countries you may live in (e.g. Canada), I will be doing the exact opposite. One of my passions lies in doing forensic audits of the athletes who emanate from the smaller islands and nation states that you might not know as much about, who might make some kind of seismic impact on these games.  

For example, while working as a music festival presenter, I’ve been on Kim Collins Watch for the last decade. If you’ve never heard the name Kim Collins, that’s okay. Many sports fans in these parts might not be so familiar. And part of the reason for that is because he comes from the small island oasis of St. Kitts that contains a population of 35,000. I used to hang out on the island back in the day to check out their annual St. Kitts Music Festival. It was then that I stumbled into the legend that is Kim Collins. Those deep in the track scene might recall that Canadian 4x 100metre bronze medallist Desai Williams is from St. Kitts, or that the late doctor George Astaphan who administered steroids to disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was also from there.

Anyways, Kim Collins is viewed as a demigod on the island for having won the country’s first Pan American medal (silver) at the last 2011 games in Mexico. Collins is also the country’s first and only World Champion in athletics, winning a gold medal in the 100 metre dash in Paris in 2003. Among the eastern Caribbean islands, Collins is the most famous Kim not named Kardashian, Kattrall or Jong-un.

The larger point I’m trying to make here is that when smaller countries win medals at major world championship-styled events it’s a huge deal.  And the Collins talk has been heating up over the past few months, some in part because the 37 year old won the 150m dash at the Glasgow international indoor team competition clocking 15.84 seconds a month ago.

It’s nothing new in my world because amongst my Kittitian friends, all the talk over the last decade always was and continues to be Kim Collins. At 37 years old, how many more years does he have in the tank? Who will be the next Kim Collins? What did Kim Collins eat for breakfast yesterday (and today)? Should Kim Collins pull a (Manny) Pacquiao and run for political office in his home country that adores him? Is Kim Collins running clean (given that he’s 37 and still running sub 10 second times - last year he remarked “everyone is judged and I will be judged running fast at my age”).  

It’s Kim Collins this, Kim Collins that.

The next time I go back to St. Kitts for vacation or the music festival, I might time it around my own birthday, and stick around for a few weeks to commemorate Kim Collins Day (August 25th)! And surely while I’m driving around the island, I will make sure to wind my way through the Kim Collins Highway (I couldn’t make this up). While I’m kicking up my feet, relaxing at one of the Frigate Bay beaches, I may have to write you all a letter (not a blog, I’m leaving my digital gadgets at home) to stay in touch. So please make sure to check out the stamp on this letter because it may contain the mug of Kim Collins (those Kim Collins stamps issued in the early 2000s where a hot item and I might pester one of my friends to see if I can get one for this purpose).   

There are probably many Kittitians who’ve named their first born boy or girl Kim – it’s a gender neutral name – so if I scream “Kim!” at the top of my lungs while sipping on one too many Carib Lager’s , a whole heap of people might turn around and look in my direction.

Despite all of this frenzied Kim business, there was that horrible episode where Collins left the last London Olympic Games because of one of those rubbish rules strictly upheld by some countries regarding who can leave the Olympic Village, and for what purposes (he reportedly visited his wife at a hotel). Collins stood his ground and kept it real. He recently tweeted (Feb. 13) that “it’s not easy, being real in a fake world. But it can be done.” That’s the reason he commands as much respect as he does.

After kinda threatening to never run for St. Kitts again; announcing his retirement in 2009; then un-retiring and performing well; and competing for St. Kitts right up until last month where he won a 150 metre race at a Glasgow international indoor meet, it would be a surprise to no one to see Collins compete at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer. And it might be in the best interest of the island of St. Kitts for him to compete on their behalf, given his still lightening quick times.

Now, can I get a Kim Collins burger to go with them fries? 

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