Fri, September 20, 2013

Canadian Olympic relay team to visit Elijah Porter

Newfoundland boy mailed Timbits medal to heartbroken runners

By QMI Agency


Canada's Justyn Warner (left to right), Oluseyi Smith, Jared Connaughton and Gavin Smellie pose after the men's 4x100-metre relay final at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Aug. 11, 2012. The team finished third but was disqualified. (LUCY NICHOLSON/Reuters)

The young track fan who tugged at Canada's heartstrings following the disqualification of the 4x100-metre relay team at the London Olympics will get a surprise visit Tuesday.

Relay team members Jared Connaughton, Gavin Smellie, Seyi Smith and Justyn Warner will stop at the Paradise, Nfld., home of 10-year-old Elijah Porter, who became a media sensation last month when he mailed the sprinters his soccer medal to replace the bronze they had taken away when they were disqualified.

"The guys are very excited to surprise Elijah at his home," Athletics Canada director of public relations Mathieu Gentes said. "I've spoken to his mother (Kim) and she can't wait to see the look on his face and his excitement when he answers the doorbell and standing at the door are Gavin, Jared, Justyn and Seyi. This is a great story and we're happy to be a part of it. Bronze would have been great too, but then we wouldn't have got the chance to meet this wonderful boy in Newfoundland."

The Canadian relay team finished third behind Jamaica and the United States, a stunning result, before being DQ'ed for a lane violation. That prompted Porter to mail his Timbits soccer medal to the team in London, along with a note to lift their spirits.

"When I heard what happened on Aug. 11, I knew it was wrong," Porter wrote. "The rules were not right. But at last I realized how good you were. We're Canadians. We persevere. It's just a Tim Hortons medal but I thought it was better than making a medal out of paper."