Veteran Jamaican Olympic gold medalist, Leslie “Les” Laing, a member of the 1952 winning relay team, has died.
His death was reported on February 7th, just a few weeks short of his 96th birthday on February 19.
The Olympians Association of Jamaica hailed Laing as a “hero” who leaves behind “a substantial legacy from his days on the track. While many Jamaican track stars emerged from the US college circuit, the Linstead native rose to prominence in Britain as a member of the Polytechnic Harriers Athletic Club in London.”
Born in Linstead, Jamaica, Laing competed in the 1948 Summer Olympics, where he finished sixth in 200 m and was eliminated in the heats of 100 m. The team missed out on a 4 x 400 m medal that summer because his teammate, the legendary Arthur Wint, had pulled a muscle in the race.
At the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, Laing was fifth in the 200 m and ran the second leg in the Jamaican 4 × 400 m relay team, which won the gold medal with a new world record of 3:03.9.
In 2005 he was inducted into the Central American and Caribbean Confederation Hall of Fame.
Laing was one of two surviving members of his gold medal-winning team. Arthur Wint and Herb McKenley died in 1992 and 2007, respectively. George Rhoden is now the only surviving member.