Awards ceremony at the 1948 London Olympics 100m competition
This is an early shot of the Roxy Athletic Club in Panama. About 1933.
That day in 1948 on the running track, the World Summer Olympics in the historic city of London were not quite over when the Panamanian, Lloyd La Beach, would, once again, offer the expectant crowd another exciting race to the finish line as the crowds stood in awe to applaud the lone Panamanian runner. The boy who had importuned his parents in Jamaica for them to let him return to his country of birth had yearned to follow other youngsters of Panamanian “Westindian” descent who would travel between the countries of the Caribbean, England, the United States and Panama to declare to the world their humanity as well as their athletic excellence.
The Olympic Games were not yet over for most athletes at the London Track and Field Stadium, for the next day the participants in the 200 meter race appeared at the starting blocks for another round of seeing some of the fastest sprinters in the world. Continue reading
This is a BBC image of the 1948 Photo Finish of the 100m finals.
The year was 1948 and the Olympic Games for which Lloyd La Beach had worked so hard for most of his young life were to be held in the month of May in London, England. It was interesting to note that up until that time in the latter part of the fortieth decade of the twentieth century in the country of Panama the West Indian Blacks, the same people who had been derided and called “Chombos” by the native Criollo population, had been the most prominent force in the field of sports in that small Isthmian nation. In fact, they were the only group that had organized athletic clubs and, consequently, dominated Track and Field in the country. Continue reading
The Great Jesse Owens. 1936 Berlin games.
Practice Session for 1948 London Olympics. Barney Ewell (left), Mel Patton (centre), and Harrison Dillard (right).
For the immortal Lloyd La Beach the sight of the City of Angels was the greatest thing he had ever seen in his young life. He was yet to envision the plan that God had in store for him, however, as he humbly took his place among the other “angels” in the mission of compelling the little country of Panama to recognize her West Indian children. Even before Lloyd arrived at the campus dormitory that night he began feeling that secret and welcomed energy so natural for his young body. Continue reading
Royce Hall at UCLA
The sheer joy of competition, though the most important part of Lloyd La Beach’s drive in track and field in his early youth, would take second place to the challenges that lay ahead as a true competitor. The intricacies and demands of track and field required great study and patience and the immortal Lloyd La Beach won the admiration of his Panamanian Westindian coaches whose counsel he followed as closely as the games in Panama would have permitted him at the time. Continue reading
Pictured are Carlos Belizaire Busette, Sam LaBeach, Cirilo McSween, Frank Prince and Lloyd La Beach
For most of the West Indian community residing in Panama very little is known concerning the immortal sprinter, Lloyd La Beach. The family of the extraordinary man child who survived to herald a mission for the Black youth of his time had a background similar to thousands of West Indian families as their men-folk ventured to that place called Panama with high hopes of escaping the slavery of economic privation. The La Beach family from Jamaica was attracted, like so many others, by the enormous project being performed to construct that channel called the Panama Canal- a feat that had been the dream of all the mariners and entrepreneurs since the time of Christopher Columbus. Continue reading