Former Athlete, Ato Boldon is a four-time Olympic-medalist who was born in Trinidad’s capital, Port of Spain. Boldon had a very happy and sheltered childhood. He attended Newton Boys’ Roman Catholic School in Port of Spain. Following this he went to Fatima College. A leading boys’ high school.
Ato Boldon left Trinidad aged 14 to live in America. He played football at the Jamaica High School in Queens, New York. It was whilst he was playing football that his coach noticed his speed and drafted him into the track team. Boldon qualified for the State Competition a year later. He moved to California for his second season where he reached the top 15 in the 200m. During his final year in high school, Boldon was offered scholarships from 3 universities. Encouraged by his mother, he chose to go to Community College.
In 1992, Ato Boldon was selected to be a part of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Team, aged just 18. At that time, he was the youngest athlete to ever do so. A year later at the World Junior Games in Seoul, Boldon became the first and only person to hold the World 100m and 200m junior sprint titles at the same time. In 1994, coach, John Smith, took Boldon under his wing and provided a fresh boost to Boldon’s career. The following year, Boldon was the 3rd fastest man in the World and became a Caribbean sports hero. International Press dubbed him ‘Golden Boldon’. This was a name Boldon didn’t like too much.
The Track and Field Magazine, also known as the ‘Bible of Athletics’, citied him as the fastest man over 200m. At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Boldon won a bronze medal in the 100m and 200m. Following this in 2000 he won another bronze medal in the 200m and a silver medal in the 100m at the Sydney Olympic Games. Boldon retired shortly after the Olympic Games in Russia in 20004, where he helped the 4x100m relay team reach their first ever Olympic final.
Boldon was always passionate about motivating young people. He stated that his success is about power. His success enabled him to encourage young people and was happy to hear children talking about him and discussing what they wanted to do in their future careers. Boldon wanted to show young people that it is possible to mix academic work and athletics successfully. Whilst Boldon attended university, he had a very strict, military schedule. He said that it was gruelling but if he could do it then others could also.
Following his retirement, Boldon served as a side-line reporter for the BBC’s coverage of the US Olympics track and field trials in 2000. He was also a commentator for CB’s NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2005. Boldon joined the NBC sports group in 2007 and became the networks lead track and field analyst. He was a part of the NBC Olympics broadcasting team in 2008 where he covered the Beijing Olympics. Boldon continued in that role for the 2012 London Olympics. He was also an Olympic correspondent at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Russia.
Following the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, Boldon joined the NBC Sports Group NASCAR broadcast team as a features contributor. He admitted that he did not know too much about NASCAR prior to joining the broadcast team. When prompted he could only name 3 NASCAR drivers. However, he was chosen for the position due to his love of cars, and the producers welcomed the input from someone from a different sports world.
Ato Boldon continues to broadcast and analyse Track and Field for NBC and also ESPN. He has also written, produced and directed a documentary, ‘Once in a Lifetime: Boldon in Bahrain.’ The documentary is about his trip to the Kingdom of Bahrain with fellow Trinidad and Tobago fans. This was when his country’s National team became the smallest country to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.
Ato Boldon has had an extremely successful career and continues to influence and educate his audiences as an analyst. The government of Trinidad and Tobago constructed the Ato Boldon stadium for the 2001 Under-17 World Cup in honour of his successes. His parents knew he was destined for great things. The reason why they gave their son the name Ato, which means brilliant. Ato Boldon, such a positive and confident man, Caribbean1st absolutely salutes you.