By: Cory William Berlekamp
Over Easter weekend, two members of the University of Findlay track team flew from Ohio to Australia to represent their home country, the British Virgin Islands, at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The Commonwealth Games are like the Summer Olympics in every way, with the exception that the only countries that compete in them are, or were, part of the British Empire. According to the Gumbs sisters, it is very exciting and an honor to compete in these games.
“We will be competing against some of the best athletes in the world; world champions, Olympic champions, and Olympic medalists.” said Tynelle Gumbs. “That is why we are so excited to about this because of the experience.”
The sisters are twins and mirror each other both in school and in their athletics with few differences. Both Trevia and Tynelle are senior public relations majors and both specialize in the throwing events of track and field. At the Commonwealth Games, Tynelle will be throwing the hammer and Trevia will be throwing the shotput, both will be throwing the discus.
“The shotput is Trevia’s event,” laughed Tynelle. “I’ll let her have that one because I don’t really like it.”
According to the Gumbs, the countries have qualifying rounds just like the Olympics, but the sisters were added to the team because of the size of the British Virgin Islands.
“Every country has their own qualification standard and for us, since our country is so small, we are only allowed to bring a certain amount of people,” said Tynelle. “We already had four athletes that qualified, then the Commonwealth told our country they could bring two more athletes and they picked us.”
According to the website, the games only happen every four years with these games being held in Gold Coast City in Australia from April 4-15. Over 70 countries will be competing in 275 events that are the same as the Summer Olympic games.
The Commonwealth Games were originally called the British Empire Games with their inaugural games taking place in the year 1930 in the Canadian city of Hamilton. There were only 11 countries represented at those games and only 59 events according to the Commonwealth website.
“When we saw that we were picked, we were so excited,” said Tynelle. “It’s an honor to get picked for something like that.”
The Gumbs twins do not get a chance to stop back in the British Virgin Islands before the games. They arrive in Sydney, Aus. on Monday, April 2 and to the Gumbs’ relief, they do not have to worry about competing right away.
“The opening ceremony is on April 4, but we don’t compete until the next week,” said Tynelle. “So we have a whole week to acclimate and adjust ourselves which is really good because if we had to compete that week, it would have been terrible.”
According to Trevia, winning would be nice, but the real excitement is going to compete on the world stage.
“Honestly, I don’t mind getting beat if it is by an Olympic champion,” said Trevia. “Your confidence always gets knocked down a little bit when there’s people better than you but we always go in with a positive mindset. You go in there doing your best, and when you do your best and performed to your best, you can’t be angry with that.”
Watching the games in the United States will be more difficult but can be streamed on the Commonwealth website and according to the BBC, it will be covered by BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Sport website.