OTTAWA – A young boy from Newfoundland is about to get a very special visit tomorrow afternoon and he has no idea its coming. Elijah Porter, the young boy who sent a heart warming letter and his only Timbits soccer medal to the 4×100-metre relay team after their disqualification in London, will be surprised at his home by relay team members Jared Connaughton of New Haven, PEI., Gavin Smellie of Brampton, Ont., Seyi Smith of Ottawa, Ont., and Justyn Warner of Markham, Ont.
The team and everyone watching initially thought they won bronze at the Olympic Games finishing third to the United States and Jamaica in the 4×100-metres relay final. After celebrating on the track with Canadian flags in tow, official results were changed to show a disqualification due to a lane violation. Jubilation quickly turned to heartbreak, not just on the track in London but in living rooms across Canada.
That’s where a young boy from Paradise, Nfld., enters the picture. 10-year old Elijah Porter took it upon himself to write a letter to the members of the team in order to lift their spirits and cheer them up. He wrote, “When I heard what happened on Aug. 11, I knew it was wrong. The rules were not right. But at last I realized how good you were. We’re Canadians. We persevere.” Porter added, “It’s just a Tim Hortons’ medal but I thought it was better than making a medal out of paper.”
“The guys are very excited to surprise Elijah at his home. I’ve spoken to his mother (Kim) and she can’t wait to see the look on his face and his excitement when he answers the doorbell and standing at the door are Gavin, Jared, Justyn and Seyi,” said Mathieu Gentès, Director of Public Relations and Corporate Services at Athletics Canada. Gentès adds, “This is a great story and we’re happy to be a part of it, bronze would have been great too, but then we wouldn’t have got the chance to meet this wonderful boy in Newfoundland. We’re very thankful that Mr. Howell approached us with this idea.”
Dave Howell of St. John’s Newfoundland is behind the trip. He reached out to Athletics Canada a few weeks ago to inquire if the relay team would be interested in making the trip out to surprise and visit with Elijah. Howell has put in numerous hours in making the trip a reality and personally looked after the airfare of all four athletes.