“We are once again mourning the passing of one of Jamaica’s truly great sportsmen.”
Olivia Grande, Jamaican Minister of Sport
(CMR) Jamaican two-time Olympian, Neville Myton, died May 19 at age 74 after a prolonged battle with cancer just days shy of his 75th birthday at his Miami, Florida home. Jamaica's Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honorable Olivia Grange expressed her condolences on the passing of a “great statesmen”.
Considered one of Jamaica's greatest athletes he was known for middle distance running and set several records at track meets. He became the first Jamaican junior world record holder in 1964 when he ran 880 yards in 47.2 seconds – a record that still stands. He also became the first schoolboy and third Jamaican to break the 1:50 minute barrier. He was also the first high school athlete to win an open event at the Penn Relays.
The sports minister confirmed that:
“He represented his country at two Olympics, at the Commonwealth Games and at the Pan American Games. He was a double gold medalist at the 1966 Central American and Caribbean Games. We must note that Neville’s stellar contribution to sports continued long after his days on the track. He went on to coach and mentor several of Jamaica’s top athletes including Veronica Campbell Brown, Simone Facey and Shereefa Lloyd.
“But his depth and versatility also saw Neville successfully coaching schoolboy cricket and football in addition to track and field. Vere Technical High School, Tivoli Gardens High School and Old Harbour High School benefitted from his vast knowledge and direction as a coach. Managing the Jamalco Sports Club also formed part of his formidable contribution to sports.
From Old Harbour Bay in St. Catherine parish, he attended was noticed at Excelsior High School for his outstanding track ability.
Myton, a middle-distance runner, competed at the 1964 and 1968 Olympic Games for Jamaica. He was also a mentor for a number of Jamaica’s elite athletes most notably two-time Olympic Veronica Campbell-Brown, Simone Facey, Colin Bradford and Shereefa Lloyd.
Myton was a double gold medalist at the 1966 Central American and Caribbean Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, taking the individual 800 meters title and also sharing in the team gold medals with the Jamaican 4×400 meters relay team.
He won a bronze medal in the 4×400 meter relay at the 1967 Pan American Games. He also won a gold medal in the 1500 meters at the British West Indies Championships in 1965, a year after winning the silver medal at the 1964 British West Indies Championships.
From Excelsior, Myton matriculated to Mesa Junior College where he helped his college win the National Junior College Athletic Association Championships twice. Myton attended San Jose State University where his teammates included American sprinters Tommy Smith and John Carlos, best known for their controversial black power salute at the 1968 Olympics. The three were part of the 1966 NCAA Championship winner's team.
Myton graduated from San Jose State University in 1971 with two degrees — a BA in Social Science and a BA in Physical Education and returned to Jamaica where he became a coach at Vere Technical, Tivoli Comprehensive and Old Harbour High School.
Neville Myton was awarded the Order of Distinction, Jamaica’s sixth highest award, in 2006. He is survived by his wife, four children, four grandchildren, two stepsons, four brothers and two sisters. His wife of 30 years Paulette shared the news with local media in Florida where they resided.
Social media was flooded with condolences from his long-time friends and family members who remember him as a selfless man, exemplary leader and caring family man.