Wedderburn recognised for his contribution to sport

A bust of Olympic bronze medallist James ‘Jim’ Wedderburn now sits in the Olympic Museum at The Barbados Olympic Association Inc. (BOA).

The wax sculpture of Wedderburn, which was recently unveiled, is the first bust of a Barbadian athlete to be added to the Museum, which chronicles Barbados’ competitive sporting history. It is a fitting tribute, as Wedderburn is the first Barbadian to have won an Olympic medal. He was a member of the 1960 British West Indies 4X400 relay team, which included Jamaican teammates Malcolm Spence, Keith Gardner, and George Kerr.

During the unveiling ceremony, the President of the BOA, Sandra Osborne, described the medal won by Wedderburn as the cornerstone of Barbados’ post-independence elite sports story. She went on to express gratitude to the Caribbean Wax Museum for their donation, stating that it would significantly enhance the museum’s exhibits, which include Wedderburn’s bronze medal.

“That story continues today with iconic pictures in the museum of people like Obadele Thompson, the 2000 Olympic Bronze medallist; Leah Martindale, 1996 Olympic finalist; and the shoes and the kit worn by Ryan Brathwaite when he won the gold medal at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. And more recently, the 2022 Commonwealth gold medal won by Sada Williams in Birmingham, and her bronze medals won at the World Championships in Portland and Budapest in 2022 and 2023,” she said.

In his remarks, 85-year-old Wedderburn expressed his appreciation for the recognition, noting that it was a special feeling being “honoured by your own and in your own country”.

“When I stepped on the track at Lodge School in 1948, I never imagined what I would be able to accomplish. At that age, athletics, for me, became more than an activity during games period; it became a way of life. The culture of hard work and dedication stood me in good stead not only as an athlete and coach but also in normal life. When I got the call inviting me here, I felt a sense of pride as my mind went back to Rome, and standing on the podium receiving my medal. I feel a similar pride this morning being immortalised in wax,” the track legend stated. 

Arthur Edwards, the Sculptor and Director of the Caribbean Wax Museum, donated the bust. He said over the last 20 years, they have been creating sculptures of notable people. Some of the personalities they have sculpted include Sir Garfield Sobers, Errol Walton Barrow, Obadele Thompson, and the late Malcolm Marshall. He believes the three-dimensional depictions are an excellent way to honour and remember individuals who have contributed significantly to society.