FOR reasons not sufficiently well known, sports items hardly ever make front page news. But there are times when this is simply inescapable — and this is one of those, when Saint Lucia’s very own and lone international athletics star has done it, yet again.
For a third consecutive time, Levern Spencer has won the top prize in the Women’s High Jump division of the Central American and Caribbean Games. In 2010 she won her first Gold in Mayaguez and her second came in Veracruz in 2014.
After placing third in the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010, she again placed third in Glasgow in 2014 – and earlier this year she won her first Gold for Saint Lucia and the Caribbean on the Gold Coast in Australia.
Same with the Pan American Games: she won the Bronze Medal in Rio in 2007 and all of eight years later she won the top prize, taking home the Gold in 2015 in Toronto.
In the CAC Championships, her record is even longer and better, winning Gold six times in 2001 (Guatemala), 2005 (Nassau), 2008 (Cali), 2009 (Havana), 2011 (Mayaguez) and 2013 (Morelia).
Levern also has other less-known regional and international records, such as: representing The Americas and winning the Bronze Medal at the World Youth Championships in Dobrecen in 2001; and winning another Bronze at the Continental Cup (which was shared with a joint winner).
This time around, Levern has virtually inscribed her name in Central American and Caribbean sports history by becoming the first and only Caribbean woman to have won the Gold three times in a row in this category – in 2010 in Mayaguez, in 2014 in Veracruz and this time in Cartagena.
She’s not been that lucky at the Olympics, three of which Levern attended and placing in the top 12 in each of her outings, with a best placing of sixth in Rio in 2016. But, as things stand now, there’s nothing to prevent the little high-jumping lady from attending her fourth Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
There’s not much that hasn’t been said about Levern in the two decades since she has been participating in international competition.
She is so accustomed of winning at home that it’s even been suggested that the annual ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ award should simply be named after Levern.
Levern is quickly becoming more than just a Saint Lucian star: the entire Caribbean has grown to count on her bringing home the bacon whenever and wherever she ends-up being the lone regional athlete flying the CARICOM and OECS flags on the continental and international circuits.
Levern Spencer has undoubtedly been the best sporting news for Saint Lucia in the past two decades, making every saint Lucian proud, at home and abroad, with her every accomplishment.
Saint Lucia and Saint Lucians continue to bask in the sunshine of the glory her victories continue to bring.
Saint Lucia has been good to her: she has received a national award as the holder of a Saint Lucia Medal of Honour (Silver) for her contribution to sports and her role as someone all young Saint Lucians should look up to. She has also won more awards – which she earned on the tracks and fields – than anyone can remember. She continues to be showered with gifts of various sorts for her every win – and that’s very good.
But when Levern is looked at alongside other athletes representing other countries and when we see how other countries have treated athletes who didn’t or haven’t won as much and over such a long time as Levern, the time might just have come for Saint Lucia to make that one long-term, full-time investment reward that will forever signify how her country feels about her.
We will not here even suggest what that permanent award or reward could or should be. That is not our role. But what we can do is to make that call and hope that it resonates in the right places.
And we have not only made her latest achievement our fitting front page item. This editorial too was written by her latest feat.
Long Live Levern!