For Jamaicans sufficiently old to recollect, Les Laing was considered one of 4 males who introduced a way of nationwide pleasure to the nation in the summertime of 1952.
He was a member of the Helsinki 4 — which additionally included Arthur Wint, Herb McKenley and George Rhoden — who received the 4×400 metres relay on the Olympic Video games in Helsinki, Finland.
Laing, who ran the second leg of that historic occasion, died on January 7 in Clermont, Florida at age 97.
Whereas his title as a trailblazer is assured in sports activities, his daughter Lesley Saunders mentioned Laing was an excellent mother or father and devoted husband to Carmen, his spouse of 67 years.
“He had an enormous sense of household; that was essential. He was very formidable and he instilled that in all of us,” she informed the Jamaica Observer.
Saunders is the oldest of Les and Carmen Laing’s three kids. In addition they had sons, Dwight and Derek.
Carmen was a excessive jumper who, like her husband, competed on the London Olympics in 1948 the place he completed fifth within the 200 metres.
Derek was an extended jumper and sprinter who participated within the Jamaica trials for the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
The Laings retired to Clermont in central Florida 15 years in the past after residing in Puerto Rico for the same interval. An agriculturalist, Les labored within the American division as gross sales supervisor for the Caribbean with the Central Soya firm.
The eldest of six kids, Les Laing was born in Linstead. His father, Charles, was a cobbler; his mom, Adlin, a homemaker.
In contrast to most of his contemporaries who attended faculty in the USA, Laing enrolled within the Jamaica Faculty of Agriculture after leaving Dinthill Excessive Faculty.
After Helsinki, the place he additionally competed within the 200 metres and completed sixth, Laing retired from athletics and went into enterprise. He by no means turned his again on the game, attending the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada.
Saunders mentioned her dad and mom adopted the exceptional feats of the brand new technology of Jamaican athletes.
“They subscribed to each channel with athletics. That is all we knew about,” she mentioned.
The couple final visited Jamaica in 2007 for McKenley’s funeral. Wint died in 1992, whereas Rhoden, now 96, lives within the US.
Leslie Laing is survived by Carmen, his three kids, 5 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. The thanksgiving service for his life is scheduled for February 20 on the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Clermont.
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