Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic and world 4x400m medallist Deon Lendore has died at the age of 29, World Athletics, the sport’s governing body informed on Tuesday.
Lendore, according to reports, died in a car crash in Texas, USA, late on Monday. The news of his death first appeared on social media in the United States and the Caribbean and was later confirmed by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee.
The three-time Olympian, who anchored his nation to relay bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, also claimed two world indoor 400m bronze medals and a 4x400m medal of the same colour.
Born in Mt Hope on October 28, 1992, the sprinter started out at local club Abilene Wildcats before moving to the United States to take up a scholarship at Texas A&M University.
He made his global debut at the 2009 World U18 Championships in Bressanone and competed at the World U20 Championships in Moncton in 2010. The following year he ran at his first senior World Athletics Championships in Daegu and less than 12 months later, at the age of 19, he made his Olympic debut in London.
After racing in the 400m heats in the UK capital, Lendore helped the Trinidad and Tobago team to two national 4x400m records, as they first won their heat and then improved again to claim the bronze medal behind the Bahamas and USA, with Lendore holding off Great Britain’s Martyn Rooney on the anchor leg.
He dipped under 45 seconds for 400m for the first time in 2013, running 44.94 to claim NCAA silver, and improved to his personal best (PB) of 44.36 the following year. Lendore was unbeaten in individual events in 2014, counting the NCAA 400m titles among his victories, and he later received The Bowerman award. The 45.03 PB he ran indoors that year remains the national record.
Lendore claimed his first world championship medal in 2015, when he formed part of Trinidad and Tobago’s silver medal-winning squad in Beijing, and he secured two world indoor medals the following year, gaining bronze in both the 400m and 4x400m in Portland. He repeated his 400m feat indoors in Birmingham two years later and in 2019 he ran the opening leg as part of Trinidad and Tobago’s winning 4x400m performance at the World Athletics Relays in Yokohama.
After his second Olympic appearance in Rio in 2016, Lendore competed at his third Games in Tokyo in 2021, helping his team to eighth place in the 4x400m final and reaching the 400m semi-finals. He went on to finish third in the Wanda Diamond League 400m final in Zurich last September.
“Words cannot adequately express our sadness at the devastating and untimely loss of three-time Olympian and Olympic and World Championships bronze medallist Deon Lendore, who has been an inspiration and motivation to us all both on and off the track,” read a tribute from the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee.
“Deon has flown the Trinidad and Tobago flag with pride, honour, patriotism and an indomitable will throughout his career while helping and inspiring many. We express our deepest and heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, teammates, coaches, Abilene Club, Community of Arima, and all who he would have touched.
“It is a sad day for the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic and Commonwealth Sports Movement,” the statement said.
He would have been one of the medal contenders at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham later this year.