Tonight we have a few words from Belize's Olympic team in Rio.
The 3 athletes are Renick James who competed in Judo today, along with Katy Sealy who competes in the 100 meter hurdles, and Brandon Jones in the 200 meter. All three are foreign born, raised and resident.
Yesterday they spoke to our broadcast partner Canoc Broadcasting Inc about what it feels like to be in Rio:…
Renick James lost in the round of 32 today. You can keep watching coverage of the Belizean and Caribbean athletes right here on Channel 7.
New York Times in Belize Exploring Simone Biles’ Links to the Jewel
For Belizeans following the Olympics, the name Simone Biles may have popped up a number of times by now. The nineteen year old gymnast has already won several world championships outside of her qualifying for the US Olympic Gymnastics team, and is widely considered the top gymnast in the world. She and the rest of the US Women’s Gymnastics Team had gold between their teeth as they took the podium on Monday but beginning Wednesday, Biles will be competing for individual medals, which she is expected to snag quite handily. As an added point of pride, Biles has a special Belizean link thanks to her adopted mother, Nellie Biles so even though she is competing under the stars and stripes banner, many feel a connection to the gymnast. It’s enough to warrant a visit from New York Times sports writer, Jeré Longman, who flew in from Rio in Brazil to check out the connection first hand. He is scheduled to visit the home of Sylas Cayetano who is the father of Nellie. Longman explains his visit to Belize.
Jeré Longman, Sports Writer, New York Times
“So I came in from Rio today; I am here to watch Simone Biles, given that her mother is from Belize. So I came to watch her performance on Thursday in the women’s all around gymnastics championship with her family and to see how Simone is viewed in Belize. She is a popular athlete; she is the best gymnast in the world and we thought it would be fun to come and watch it with her family.”
“Simone is representing the U.S.A., but you are still tracking down that Belizean connection. What do you think might come from her story for Belizeans who might be watching?”
“Well I think it’s the story of the woman who may be the best gymnast of all time. I think her hope is that maybe her visibility in the end would sort of help, at some point…I think she wants to help develop sports in Belize—that not only to have her own career, but if she can to help athletes within Belize, which would be a great accomplishment I think. So the thing I really want to see is the home of her grandfather, Silas Cayetano, who was a teacher and senator. And it seems from everyone that I talked to, he was the one that stressed the importance of education; that education was the most important thing for you to do and that he expected everyone in the family to have some form of greatness. And so it sounds like Simone listened and it is a very prominent family, highly educated family. And obviously on the sporting side, Simone has achieved greatness as well.”
Simone Biles Soars, Lifting Another Country With Her NY Times... BELIZE CITY, Belize — One o’clock arrived. Relatives gathered at a hotel bar to watch Olympic gymnastics on television. So did the first lady of Belize and 11 contestants in the coming Miss Belize pageant, wearing their sashes and carrying tiny flags. But where was Simone Biles?
The women’s individual all-around competition had begun 4,000 miles away on Thursday afternoon at the Rio Games. Biles, 19, was the heavy American favorite, but there was also anticipation in an unlikely place, the tiny Central American country of Belize, where she holds dual citizenship.
Phone calls were made. Television channels were changed. Beauty contestants were perplexed. Still no live gymnastics.
Finally, after 30 minutes, the live feed began on Caribbean television. Biles had already performed her vault routine, but the delayed start did not mute the ecstatic cheering that greeted her second gold medal at the Rio Games.
There are big stories unfolding in Belize, including a Supreme Court ruling that affirmed gay rights and the cleanup from Hurricane Earl, which churned through last week. But interest in Biles also has resonated here, in the country’s economic capital, as evidenced everywhere from the Prime Minister’s residence to the shade of a local plum tree, painted purple and gold, where tour guides talk politics and play dominoes.
Judoka Renick James speaks about Olympics experience
Belize is being proudly represented at the Olympics by Belizeans Katy Sealy, Brandon Jones and Renick James. James, who competed in judo, lost his ninety-kilogram or hundred and ninety-eight pound category, round-of-thirty-two match on Wednesday to Nauru’s Ovini Uera. He is back in Belize and told us all about his experience on the mat today:
Renick James, Olympian in Judo
“It was a crazy experience. Before going on the mat actually I got a slight sickness, I had food poisoning before I actually had to get on the mat, so I was not at my full hundred percent but I still put out my best ability that I could, right? The guy was strong, completely strong, his technique was okay; but I tried my best to battle it out. He got two wazaris – for the people that understand judo, two wazaris is basically putting your opponent to the back – not completely but half-way. And he also got a warning – I got a warning for non-competitivity. So that’s basically how he won.”