For some time, I have been lamenting this country's treatment of weightlifter Rodney Adolphus Wilkes — the first Trinbagonian to medal at the Olympics.
Last week, a female caller to I-95.5 Radio helped me along, providing a bit more information which added to that lament.
She pointed out that when Wilkes, representing the then colony of Trinidad and Tobago, mounted the podium at the London 1948 Olympic Games to collect his silver medal he was already our first-ever gold medallist at a major international competition.
Sixty-six years ago, in 1946 in Barranquilla, Colombia, the 21-year-old Wilkes from San Fernando, known as both the "Mighty Atom" and the "Mighty Midget", brought us gold at the Central American and Caribbean Games.
"The Mighty" went on win gold again at the Pan American Games in Buenos Aires in 1951, establishing himself as the strongest man in the hemisphere in the featherweight class.
In the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Wilkes took the bronze medal behind two Soviet athletes. By 1954 he still was bringing pride to the colony — a gold medal at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver.
After ten years of international competition, the enduring "Mighty" came fourth in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, missing the bronze medal by five kilos. But by 1958 he was still able to capture bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff.
The "Atom" was extinguished in 1960, retiring finally after he failed to make the West Indies Federation team to the Rome Olympics.
Last week, as the nation focused on gold medallist Keshorn Walcott, I wondered whether anyone had bothered to seek out the 87-year-old Wilkes — because he has remained another one of the sad stories of national neglect.
In many quarters, people are trying to determine the most significant Trinbagonians, and to every such discussion I plead for us to step back and recognise international gold, silver and bronze medals that Rodney Wilkes brought home to us.
We have thrown everything we have at Keshorn, and for this I am grateful. What stays with me is his cool after establishing that 84.58 metres mark in the javelin, and then that smile of boyish innocence.
My question is, how long will that smile last; how long will there be innocence? A plane, a school, a lighthouse carrying his name, a million dollars in his account, an upscale home, and an opportunity to study; all this is great.
Now let's be real. Where do we go from here with Keshorn? At the same 1948 Olympics where Wilkes won a silver medal, two athletes, Arthur Wint and Herb Mc Kenley, took gold and silver medals respectively in the 400 metres for the colony of Jamaica.
Jamaica, realising its home-grown talent, built a national platform for athletics which has resulted 64 years later in the machine that is Usain Bolt and company.
What have we done with weight-lifting? What platform did we build on Wilkes' international successes? Discarded first by a colony, then by a nation, Wilkes was allowed to disappear quietly into a life as an electrician in San Fernando.
Arthur Wint became a medical doctor, Jamaica's High Commissioner to London and stands among its national heroes.
Hasely Crawford, our first Olympic gold medallist, barely escaped treatment similar to Wilkes. At least today, he can point to a home in Federation Park, received after repeated reminders of the 1976 promise, and a stadium that carries his name.
What did we build on Hasely's 1976 achievement? The medals of our enduring Ato Boldon came 20 years after, then a similar time span between him and Richard Thompson.
Look how we allowed Jack Warner to treat the Soca Warriors who transported Trinbago's national energy to Germany.
Warner rose to prominence on the basis of strengthening regional football leagues into a national whole. It gave him regional status and then the vice presidency of FIFA.
To Warner's credit, because of his position those village and regional footballers gained access to the world, and our team international ranking. But just as our football rose with him, it also fell with him.
Since Warner's departure in disgrace from FIFA, our football has been confronted with a fate similar to that of Rodney Wilkes — abandoned and possibly forgotten.
The Prime Minister, in her response to Keshorn's gold medal, described it as the gold lining behind the dark cloud that had set over Diego Martin.
That lining contains many challenges for Keshorn, particularly from a government seeking to exploit his success.
First, we saw the butterfly posturing of the Prime Minister, then came Tertiary Education Minister, Fazal Karim, with advertisements in which he, Karim, is featured in six of the seven pictures.
More immediate is Jack Warner — the threat to our national security. First, he admits to possessing a dossier on the Prime Minister, now he is spying on the office of the Leader of the Opposition.
What next? Watergate-style "break-ins" at our homes?
• Keith Subero, a former Express news editor, has since followed a career in communication