Tuesday, August 16, 2016

EDITORIAL >> Henderson honors Mom

We salute our two outstanding Olympians in Rio de Janeiro, gold-medal winner Jeff Henderson of McAlmont and Lexi Weeks, Cabot’s own pole vaulter who did not make it to the finals this week but who will likely return to future Olympics in the years ahead.

Henderson achieved his dream of becoming an Olympic champion Saturday when he won the men’s long jump. He burst onto the international scene after coming under 1984 Olympic champion Al Joyner’s tutelage three years ago, and we have followed his career ever since.

Henderson won the Olympic long jump by one centimeter Saturday over South African silver medalist Luvo Manyonga. He also beat defending Olympic champion Greg Rutherford of Great Britain, who took bronze, and Arkansas Razorback NCAA champion Jarrion Lawson.

After his victory, Henderson paid tribute to his supporters and ailing mother, and gave us permission to print it here, word for word.

“This journey has been a long one but well worth it. I can’t say thank you enough to all of my family and friends for the ongoing support. Thank you for walking, running, jumping, and praying with me as I defied the odds and brought home the Gold.

“I have to thank you Dad, Laverne Henderson, for always pushing me and giving me that extra amount to get over any obstacles that may have been in my way. I have to thank my brothers and sisters Junior Henderson, Andrea Henderson-Johnson, Shana Henderson, Shawnelle Henderson, Kristina Henderson, Dominique Tillman and Bryan Bare Tillman for all of the long and inspirational conversations – not only during this great time but any and every time I needed them.

“Thank you and I love you. And to the woman, the Queen, the mother that birthed me, Debra Henderson, regardless of what doctors have said, I know without a doubt that you cheered, rooted, gave me your all, and sent special requests and prayers to the Most High for this to be possible.

“Momma, I told you I was going to bring you and the family the Gold home and I did it. Thank you for loving me and instilling the drive to never give up. I love you, Momma.

“And to all of my family and friends, once again, thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you for all the support. I love you all.”