Jamaican hurdler Hansle Parchment has tracked down and thanked a Tokyo 2020 volunteer who paid for his taxi to the Olympic Stadium, where he subsequently won a gold medal.
Parchment told the story in a video posted to social media last weekend, which ended with him meeting the volunteer, whom he called Tiana. He thanked her, showed her the gold medal, gave her a Jamaican Olympic shirt and paid her back the money she had lent.
“You were instrumental in me getting to the final that day,” he told her before they posed for a photo.
Tiana’s biggest prize may be yet to come though: the Sunday Gleaner reported Jamaica’s minister for tourism intends to host her on a trip to the Caribbean island.
“No matter where in the world she is, we want to reciprocate the kindness shown to one of our own,” Jamaica’s minister for tourism, Edmund Bartlett, told the Sunday Gleaner.
Parchment feared he would miss last Thursday’s 110m hurdles final when he got on the wrong coach and ended up at what he believes was one of the aquatics venues. All the official Tokyo 2020 cars were booked and taking a bus back to the Olympic village and then another to the stadium would have left him struggling to make the start of the final.
“If I had done that, I wouldn’t get there in time to even warm up. I had to find another way. I was trying to get one of the branded cars for the Games to take me, but these people are very strict and adhering to the rules, and I would have to have to book the car from beforehand to get it to leave,” he said on the video posted to social media.
That is when he saw Tiana. “I saw this volunteer and I had to beg, ‘cause of course she is not allowed to do much, and she actually gave me some money to take one of the taxis. And that’s how I was able to get to the warm-up in time, and had enough time to compete,” Parchment said.
Parchment won bronze at the 2012 Olympics but missed the Games in 2016 due to injury. The 31-year-old only finished third in the Jamaican trials for Tokyo and did not win either his heat or semifinal on his way to the final. However, once there he beat a high-quality field in a season-best time of 13.04 seconds to take the Olympic title.