Eyes on Rio: Dickinson State Alumni Ready to Represent Bahamas in Olympics

So far, the Rio Olympics have been pretty chill for Trevor Barry.

The Bahamian high jumper and Dickinson State University alumnus said he has been spending a lot of time in the training room, taking advantage of the free massages and physical therapy offered to the athletes.

“Just relaxing until it’s time for showtime,” he said.

Showtime is Sunday for the 33-year-old two-time Olympian, who’ll compete in the qualification rounds with the hope of making Tuesday’s finals.

Continue reading “Eyes on Rio: Dickinson State Alumni Ready to Represent Bahamas in Olympics”

DSU graduate Ramon Miller’s epic gold medal run in Olympic mile relay final is The Press’ No. 1 sports story of 2012

Bahamas’ Ramon Miller, left, beats Angelo Taylor of the United States as he crosses the finish line to win gold in the men’s 4×400-meter relay final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Before the Olympics began last summer in London, Ramon Miller made one thing clear. He was the captain of his ship. “This year, I’m doing everything on my own,” Miller said in a July 29 article in The Dickinson Press. “I’m sailing my own ship, so if anything goes wrong, I’m to blame. I’m the captain of everything right now.”

Miller went to London hoping to make an impact and lead his 1,600-meter relay team to the medal stand.

He returned a gold-medal winning national hero.

Continue reading “DSU graduate Ramon Miller’s epic gold medal run in Olympic mile relay final is The Press’ No. 1 sports story of 2012”

Atkins sprints to the future: Former DSU sprinter already has his sights set on 2016 Olympics

Dickinson State graduate Derrick Atkins races for his home country of the Bahamas in a men’s 100-meter heat during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London on Aug. 4.
AP Photo

Derrick Atkins envisions himself, a little less than four years from now, bursting out of the starting blocks at João Havelange Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

It’s a specific picture to paint. But there is nowhere else Atkins wants to be in August 2016 than The Marvelous City on Brazil’s eastern coast. The Dickinson State graduate’s sights are set on representing his native Bahamas in his third consecutive Summer Olympics.

The road there, however, won’t be easy.

At the 2012 Olympics in London last summer, Atkins was one of the few elite track and field athletes competing on the world stage without corporate sponsorship.

The 100-meters sprinter learned the difficulties of trying to navigate the ultra-competitive sport without the help of sponsors after Adidas, a worldwide athletic apparel company, dropped their sponsorship of him in 2010. He had all but disappeared from the international track scene in mid-2010 because of knee injuries and didn’t compete in 2011.

“If you don’t really have a major shoe company or a major sponsor, it’s kind of difficult to maintain the level of performance you need to because of upkeep,” Atkins said. “That’s where most of the expenses go.”

Despite being his own coach and sponsor, the 28-year-old Atkins said his isn’t considering his career on the downslide.

Continue reading “Atkins sprints to the future: Former DSU sprinter already has his sights set on 2016 Olympics”

Gold-medal winning DSU alumnus Ramon Miller awarded cash, land from Bahamas government

Ramon Miller and the rest of the Bahamas 1,600-meter relay team dubbed “The Golden Knights” in their home country of the Bahamas, were expected to give awarded land gifts by the Bahamas government on Monday.

Miller, a Dickinson State University graduate, ran the anchor leg of the gold-medal winning relay team at the London Olympics earlier this month.

He and teammates, Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder and Michael Mathieu have been on a tour of the Bahamas since returning to their home country.

On Sunday, The Tribune in Nassau, Bahamas, reported that the government has already presented the quartet with more than $100,000 in cash and quoted Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie saying each were expected to receive a plot of land in Nassau, the capital city.

Bahamas media big on DSU’s Olympic trio

The track and field events get under way Friday at the Summer Olympics and Bahamas media outlets have published numerous reports that show the country is looking to three former Dickinson State athletes to help earn medals for a country that had none through Thursday.

The Nassau Guardian, Bahamas Tribune and Freeport News — three of the nation’s leading media outlets — have sent reporters to the London Games and each has filed numerous reports either about or referencing DSU alumni Derrick Atkins, Trevor Barry and Ramon Miller.

While Atkins is a longshot in the 100 meters — one of the Olympics’ toughest events — Barry and Miller are expected to contend for the medal stand in the high jump and 1,600-meter relay, respectively.

A Thursday article by Sheldon Longley of the Nassau Guardian called the men’s 1,600-meter relay, which Miller is a part of, the country’s best chance for a medal.

Miller, who won a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Games as an alternate in the 1,600 relay, will also compete in the 400 meters alongside countrymen Demetrius Pinder and Chris Brown. In a Bahamas Tribune article published Wednesday, Bahamas coach David Charlton said the three “could all end up in the final.”

An article by the Guardian focused on Atkins, who he wrote “appears to have his swagger back,” as he tries to make a finals run in the extremely difficult 100 meters, an event he was all but dominant in five years ago.  A Guardian column by Fred Sturrup called this “moment of truth” for Atkins.

The Guardian and Tribune each penned articles about the chances of the Bahamas producing a pair of high jump medalists in Barry and his countryman, former high jump Donald Thomas.

On Wednesday, Sturrup called Barry a “dark horse among the Olympic high jump group,” and praised the former Blue Hawks’ late-blooming skills. Barry’s best event at DSU was the long jump, where he won four NAIA titles, as opposed to only two in the high jump.

Kind words aside, Barry knows he has a difficult task ahead of him.

Though Barry was a bronze medalist at the 2011 World Championships, when personal-best jumps are taken into account at the Olympics, his best jump of 2.32 meters would barely put him into the final round.

Then again, the competition doesn’t happen on paper and Barry has long acknowledged that anything is possible at the Olympics.

“You can’t afford to rest on your laurels in this sport because you would be passed,” Barry told The Nassau Guardian in an article published July 30.

Keep up with the how the DSU trio fares at the Olympics at www.thedickinsonpress.com or on my Twitter page or watch them live on NBCOlympics.com if you subscribe to DirecTV or Dish Network. Below are their schedules.

Derrick Atkins
Saturday, Aug. 4
100 meters preliminaries, 3 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time / 10 a.m. British Standard Time
100 meters first round, 5:30 a.m. MDT / 12:30 p.m. BST
Sunday, Aug. 5
100 meters semifinals, 12:45 p.m. MDT / 7:45 p.m. BST
100 meters finals, 2:50 p.m. MDT / 9:50 p.m. BST

Trevor Barry
Sunday, Aug. 5
High jump qualification, 2:05 p.m. MDT / 9:05 p.m. BST
Tuesday, Aug. 7
High jump finals, 2 p.m. MDT / 9 p.m. BST

Ramon Miller
Saturday, Aug. 4
400 meters first round, 3:35 a.m. MDT / 10:35 a.m. BST
Sunday, Aug. 5
400 meters semifinals, 1:40 p.m. MDT / 8:40 p.m. BST
Monday, Aug. 6
400 meters finals, 2:30 p.m. MDT / 9:30 p.m. BST
Thursday, Aug. 9
1,600-meter relay first round, 4:35 a.m. MDT / 11:35 a.m. BST
Friday, Aug. 10
1,600-meter relay finals, 2:20 p.m. MDT / 9:20 p.m. BST

Having no coach hasn’t been a problem for Ramon Miller — he’s a 2-event Olympian

Editor’s Note: This is the last in a three-part series previewing Dickinson State alumni who are competing for the Bahamas at the Summer Olympics in London.

Ramon Miller has no one to blame but himself for how he performs at the Summer Olympics.

Miller is taking an approach that isn’t unprecedented. But it’s not one most world-class runners are known to take in their training.

For more than a year, the Bahamas sprinter and Dickinson State graduate has been without a proper coach.

It hasn’t seemed to hinder him either.

Miller has qualified for the London games in three different events — the 200 and 400 meters and as a member of the Bahamas’ outstanding 1,600 relay team. However, he only plans to compete in the 400 and 1,600 relay.

“This year, I’m doing everything on my own,” Miller said. “I’m sailing my own ship, so if anything goes wrong, I’m to blame. I’m the captain of everything right now.”

After leaving Dickinson in 2010 — two years after helping the Bahamas 1,600 relay team win a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics — Miller went to Orlando, Fla., where he began working with former U.S. Olympic team coach Brooks Johnson.

But, something just didn’t click between Miller and the veteran mentor.

“He’s a pretty good coach, but he just wasn’t my suit,” Miller said.

The difficulty of not being able to mesh with Johnson was compounded by back and hamstring injuries, turning 2010 into a nightmare for Miller.

“It was a real rough year for me,” Miller said.

It wasn’t without a couple of silver linings though.

In October of that year, Miller won a bronze medal in the 400 meters with a time of 45.55 seconds at the Commonwealth Games in New Dehli. One month later, he celebrated the birth of his daughter, now 20-month-old Rammonica.

In 2011, he left Johnson’s camp and has been mostly on his own ever since.

“I just wasn’t progressing like I wanted to,” Miller said. “I made a decision and I just started working on my own, doing what I did in Dickinson, which I know helped me. After I left him, I started to see an improvement.”

In August 2011, Miller won his heat in the 400 meters at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, with a time of 45.31 seconds. He finished just 13th overall. In October, he won another bronze, this time at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, with a time of 45.01 seconds.

That set him up for this year’s big push toward London.

He ran a personal-best time of 44.87 seconds in the 400 while finishing second to Demetrius Pinder in the Bahamas Olympic Trials and had an Olympic qualifying time of 20.5 seconds in the 200 at a meet in Tampa, Fla., in May.

Miller’s breakout season comes as no surprise to DSU head track and field coach Pete Stanton.

“Ramon has just taken off,” said Stanton, who coached Miller to 12 NAIA individual or relay championships. “He’s so talented and has such great work ethic. He knows where he wants to go.”

While Miller wants to challenge for the podium in the 400, he knows his best shot of earning another Olympic medal comes as a member of his countries’ 1,600 relay team. The Bahamas owns the fifth-fastest time in the world (3:00.56) coming into the Olympics. But, that time was set at the end of April, far from when any of the runners — Miller included — were at their peak.

“Me and the guys, we talk every day,” Miller said of his relay teammates. “We talk about how practice is going. We don’t even talk about the relay. Once we come together, everybody is healthy and we’re going to go after it and hope for the best.”

Miller opted not to run the 200 at the Olympics, saying he hit the qualifying mark while trying to test his speed and see if his training was progressing well. Plus, his time doesn’t rank high enough for him to be considered a medal contender.

Nonetheless, Stanton said to qualify for the Olympics in three events says much about the level at which Miller is competing.

“He’s just an extreme talent,” Stanton said. “When you take three events, how many people in the world can qualify in three events for the Olympics?”

Steadily Soaring: After barely missing Beijing Olympics, Trevor Barry enters London as high jump favorite

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a three-part series previewing Dickinson State alumni who are competing for the Bahamas at the Summer Olympics in London.

One centimeter. It’s practically nothing.

But, one centimeter is all that kept Trevor Barry from qualifying for the Olympics four years ago.

One centimeter is also what has made Barry’s trip to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London so sweet.

“It’s kind of a redemption,” he said with a smile.

High jump is an athletic discipline that puts great importance on small increments and adjustments.

Little improvements, over a span of years, have helped the Dickinson State alumnus become one of the world’s best high jumpers.

He has reached 7 feet, 7 inches (2.31 meters) this season and hit 7-7¼ (2.32 meters) last September to win a bronze medal at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Last year’s performance has Barry thinking big.

“I feel like I’m in good position to be a contender for a medal,” Barry said.

He has the right to feel good about his chances when the high jump qualifying begins Aug. 5. After all, he has come a long way in four years — even if all he has done is increase his personal-best jump by a seemingly meager 3 inches.

Still, it’s an amount DSU head track and field coach Pete Stanton said matters a great deal in the high jump.

“It’s a cliché: sports come down to inches,” Stanton said. “But it’s even more so in high jump. It comes down to centimeters.”

Barry, who helped DSU win NAIA national championships in 2004, 2005 and 2006, has been on the rise since barely missing the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

He took a silver medal behind countryman Donald Thomas with a height of 7-6 (2.29 meters) at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Dehli. In 2011, less than two months before his bronze at the World Championships, Barry won gold at the Central American and Caribbean Championships by leaping 7-5¾ (2.28 meters). This year, the Mizuno-sponsored athlete ranks fourth in the Diamond League, a global competition for many of the top athletes in select disciplines.

“My story is not a Cinderella one,” Barry said. “It’s persistence and dedication.”

Getting to this point has been a steady climb, a journey Barry has done mostly on his own.

Living in Fargo, Barry generally works out alone.

He takes film of his practices and sends them to two coaches, world-renowned Bahamas track and field coach Keith Parker and Troy Kemp, an assistant coach at Northern Arizona who won the gold medal at the 1995 World Championships. Kemp helps Barry with his strength and training regimen while Parker keeps an eye on the technical aspects.

Training without any competition can be viewed as a drawback, but Barry said it works well for him.

“It’s kind of a mental thing,” he said. “Each athlete has their own preference. For me, I don’t have anyone to compete with. I don’t have anyone to set me back either. My limit is my limit.”

Since Barry arrived at DSU in 2003, Stanton said the eight-time NAIA champion — only two of which came in the high jump — has never lacked confidence.

That attitude, the coach believes, may play a major factor in London.

“The big thing Trevor has going for him is his consistency over the last year, and his confidence,” Stanton said. “He’s always been pretty confident, but now I think he knows the level that he’s at and where he’s going.”

If Barry has his way, he’s going to the medal stand after the high jump finals on Aug. 7.

“I have the confidence,” Barry said. “I know what it takes to compete at this level. Right now, anything is possible.”