By BRENT STUBBS
Senior sports journalist
IN a year where we have had extraordinary performances from players in their various international teams, Steven Gardiner has managed to trump them all with his Olympic gold medal to win the 2021 Male Athlete of the Year from The Tribune. Sports.
The 26-year-old Gardiner’s Bahamian national record feat surpassed the efforts of Miami Marlins infielder Jasrado ‘Jazz’ Chisholm in Major League Baseball, Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton in National Basketball Association, Eugene Stuart of Arcada Galati as a member of the A1 League men’s champions from Romania and collegiate swimmer Izaak Bastian.
The only thing missing from his masterpiece this year was another national record, but returning to the top of the podium with another gold was more than enough for Steven Gardiner as he won his second Bahamian award. the end of the year.
Last month, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture awarded Gardiner male athlete of the year honors at his awards banquet at the Baha Mar Convention Center. He was not included in World Athletics’ best athlete list for male athlete of the year won by Norwegian world record holder in the 400m hurdles and Olympic gold medalist Karsten Warholm.
But Gardiner accomplished his national recognition by stretching his 6-foot-4-inch frame around the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan on August 5 in an impressive time of 43.85 seconds, just short of his national record of 43, 48 when he won the gold medal. at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Ahead of the Olympics, which were delayed from last year due to COVID-19, Gardiner was undefeated in eight 400m races but suffered his only loss when he competed in a 200m race. in Lausanne on August 21.
On his return home in October, Gardiner, surrounded by family members (parents Theresa and Steven Gardiner Sr and younger sister Mesha) and coach Anthony Williams of Murphy Town and Moore’s Island, Abaco as well as his agent Juanita Bryant, received a lucrative one. One year contract with BTC as a brand ambassador for their “Elevate What’s Next” campaign.
Ayton flies to 2nd place
All eyes were on the Phoenix Suns as they emerged from the Western Conference in the 2020/2021 season to advance to the NBA Finals, only to see their title hopes dashed by the Milwaukee Bucks in six. matches.
The discussion revolved around the maturity of 6-foot, 11-inch Bahamian center Deandre Ayton, the top overall pick in the 2018 Draft, with the addition of talented point guard Chris Paul to help stabilize the young team coached by Monty Williams.
Building on their success, the Suns have remained a hot topic in the 2021/2022 season. At the end of the five-game Christmas Day treat on Saturday, Dec. 25, Phoenix fell to second in the Western Conference at 26-6 with a 116-107 loss to the Golden State Warriors 27-6.
In 31 minutes, Ayton produced a package with 18 points and seven rebounds just around his consistent average of 7 points, 11.1 rebounds with 1.6 assists for the 23-year-old.
At the start of the season, there was an issue off the field with Ayton failing to secure a rookie overtime before the season. However, if they can replicate last season’s performances, he could strike a lucrative deal for his future in Phoenix.
Chisholm turns heads in 3rd place
Without the gold medal at the top of the sport, Jasrado Chisholm’s flamboyant style of play for the Miami Marlins could have been celebrated by many. He reached .248 / .303 / .425 with 18 home runs, 53 RBIs and 23 stolen goals.
A mid-season injury kept him from finishing the season with a historic 20/20 homerun / stolen base feat. He finished the year with the fastest sprinting speed of any major league second baseman, at 29.1 fps.
Miami also missed a playoff trip as they finished the season 12th overall in the National League and fourth in their Eastern Conference with a 65-97 win-loss record.
Chisholm, traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Marlins for Zac Gallen on July 31, 2019, was posted to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp where, in 112 games between Jackson and Jacksonville, he reduced by 0.220 / .321 / .441 with 21 home runs, 54 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.
But after the 2019 season, 23-year-old Chisholm was added to the Marlins’ 40-player roster and was promoted to the big leagues for the first time on September 1, 2020.
In 2021, Chisholm brought the Marlins out of spring training as the team’s starting second baseman and was a starting infielder from second base to shortstop.
Stuart climbed to 4th place
As one of three Bahamians currently playing professional volleyball, Eugene Stuart helped Arcada Galati’s men’s volleyball team win the Romanian A1 Division title in April.
Stuart, along with five other foreign players, helped Arcada to a clear three-set victory over SCM Zalau (Sport Club Municipal) this weekend. Arcada finished the season with an impressive 28-2 wins and losses record atop the team standings.
Stuart, 24, 6-foot-7, who played midfielder, only completed his first year with Arcada and he celebrated in style as the league champion, the first accomplished by a Bahamian.
Prior to going to Arcada, Stuart spent the previous season with Karelian Hurmos in the Mestaruusliiga league in Finland.
After graduating from St Augustine’s College in 2015 as a basketball and volleyball star, the national team member played for the University of Charleston, West Virginia, where he graduated his Bachelor of Science in Sports Business.
Stuart, in 2013, represented the Bahamas on the Junior Men‘s National Team at the Caribbean Volleyball Championships in Guadeloupe. Fast forward to 2016, when he was mentioned on ESPN as the “player to watch” for a regular season game against Loyola University in Chicago.
The following year, 2017, he adapted for the men’s national volleyball team which played at the Caribbean Volleyball Championships in Trinidad and Tobago and in 2018 he was named Defensive Player of the Week for Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) v Princeton. University, while again representing the Bahamas on the Men’s National Team which played Suriname at the Caribbean Volleyball Championships.
Bastian splash in the top five
Now in his final year at Florida State University, Izaak Bastian becomes the next male swimmer to watch on the international stage.
This year, Bastian, 20, qualified for the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which took place in August, and he ended the year as a competitor at the FINA World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi from December 16 to 21.
In Tokyo, Bastian landed 40th in the men’s 100 breaststroke in 1: 01.87 and finished 36th in the 200m breaststroke in 2: 17.40 as he made his median trip to the world’s greatest sporting spectacle. .
Then, as one of four athletes representing the country at the year-end competition in Abu Dhabi, Bastian lowered his national record in the 50-meter breaststroke from 27.60 to 27.24 for 24th place and in the 100 breaststroke from 1: 00.87 to 59.61 for the 30th. place.
Bastian also teamed up with the other three members – Joanna Evans, Lilly Higgs and Lamar Taylor – to compete in the mixed 4x50m freestyle relay, clocking 1: 36.43 for 12th place overall.
Prior to these competitions, Bastian placed first in all of his events at the TYR Fall Classic, including competition records in the 400 IM relay, 100 breaststroke (54.34) and 200 IM as well as winning performances in the 200 IM relay. free and 200 breaststroke (2: 01.33).
He helped the Seminoles to victory and set the Morcom Aquatic Center record in the 200 IM relay and was second in the 100 breaststroke (53.47) and 200 breaststroke (1: 58.21) against Auburn.
Bastian was also second in the 100 breaststroke in 53.74 and the 200 breaststroke in 2: 00.54 and won the 200 IM relay against Georgia Tech. And he placed third in the 100 freestyle (47.18) and 200 free relay against Florida Southern and contributed to the new school record for the 200 medley relay at the Georgia Tech Invitational and was second in the 100 breaststroke (52.27). and sixth in the 200 breaststroke. (1: 57.27).