LSU Olympians Thompson, Baptiste Honored by Home Country

By Keith Nunez, USTFCCCA

January 7, 2009   

BATON ROUGE – The honors continue to roll in for LSU Olympians Richard Thompson and Kelly Baptiste as the National Amateur Athletic Association of Trinidad and Tobago named the duo its Male and Female Athlete of the Year this past weekend for their performance in 2008.

The honor comes less than one month after each was named the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee in December.

Both Thompson and Baptiste were on hand to accept the award presented by the NAAA during its annual awards banquet held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port of Spain on Saturday.

Thompson’s selection as the NAAA Male Athlete of the Year came as no surprise after becoming a national hero with his silver-medal winning performance in the 100-meter dash at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Thompson shattered his own personal best with a time of 9.89 seconds to finish second only to world-record holder and gold medalist Usain Bolt of Jamaica.

He became just the third sprinter from Trinidad and Tobago to earn a medal in the 100 meters in the 112-year history of the modern Olympic Games, joining Hasley Crawford and Ato Boldon. Not only that, but Thompson capped his first ever Olympic experience by anchoring Trinidad and Tobago’s 4×100-meter relay team to a silver medal while clocking a time of 38.06 in the final.

Thompson also put an exclamation point onto the end of his collegiate career in 2008 by winning NCAA titles in the 60 meters and 100 meters and earning a total of four All-America honors en route to being named the NCAA Men’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year for his performance.

Like Thompson, Baptiste made her Olympic Games debut in Beijing where she earned a spot into the quarterfinals of the 100-meter dash while also running on Trinidad’s 4×100-meter relay.

Baptiste also swept NCAA titles in the 60 meters and 100 meters during her senior season at LSU while breaking her own national records in both the 100 meters (11.06) and 200 meters (22.67) in 2008. She finished her collegiate career as one of the most decorated Lady Tigers in team history with a total of 14 All-America honors to her credit.