At the 2012 London Olympics Lalonde Gordon, wearing the Trinidad and Tobago vest, won bronze medals in the 400m and 4x400m relay just two years after he began to specialize in the one-lap event at the Musketeers Track Club in New York.
His unusual first name came from the Canadian boxer Donny Lalonde who had beaten Leslie Stewart in Trinidad, to retain the world light heavyweight boxing title, some months before Gordon was born.
At age 7 he moved with his family from Tobago to Cambria Heights in Queens, New York.
He liked to run fast, like his favourite animal the cheetah, but only started training seriously at Mohawk Valley Community College in 2009, ending the year with best times of 10.92 at 100m, 21.66w at 200m and 49.47 at 400m.
He preferred the short sprints, but as 2010 progressed so did his 400m times. After finishing second in the national championships 400m race and winning a 4x400m relay bronze medal at the CAC Games in Puerto Rico, at the October Commonwealth Games in India he brought his PB to 46.33 more than three seconds faster than his best time the year before.
Lalonde moved to Zenith Velocity club for the 2011 season and improved his 400m best to 46.04 and then 45.51, while bringing his 200m time from 20.96 to 20.67. At the CAC Championships in Mayaguez he won a silver medal in the 4x400m relay, but did not finish the 400m final.
Olympic year 2012 began with Lalonde Gordon clocking 20.58 for 200m indoors in January, then in March he won a relay bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships, and in June he brought his 400m PB down to 45.33 and also won his first national 400m title.
This earned him a place on the Olympic relay team but not for the individual event, as he had not attained the qualifying standard of 45.30 seconds.
His mother Cynthia, who always had faith in his spirit of determination, then paid his way to the US club championships in early July, and there he won the 400m, in his new PB of 45.02 qualifying him for the Olympic event, and the 200m (20.63).
At the Olympic Games the form of Lalonde Gordon peaked on three consecutive days when he clocked 45.43 for second in his quarter final, 44.58 to win his semi-final and 44.51 for third place in the final, the latter two times being new PBs.
Lalonde returned to the Olympic track for the 4x400m relay, running lead off leg for the team on both appearances: firstly to a semi-final win in 3:00.38, and then in the final to a 2:59.40 bronze medal finish (the first under 3 minute clocking by a team from Trinidad and Tobago). The split times for this were 44.6 by Lalonde, 44.6 by Jarrin Solomon, 45.5 by Ade Alleyne-Forte and 44.7 by Deon Lendore, whose gritty run down the finish straight will always be remembered.
The post-Olympic year 2013 saw Lalonde concentrate on the 200m, bringing his PB to 20.26 when taking the national title in June, and running 20.28 for second at the CAC Championships in July.
At the World Championships in Moscow he was a member of the 4x400m team which finished second (3:00.48) in its semi-final on 15 August.
Unfortunately the following day, one that this athlete and many of his fans would like to forget, did not go well: he was third (20.85) in the 200m quarter final, eighth (21.14) in the 200m semi-final and sixth (3:01.74) in the 4x400m relay final (split times Renny Quow 45.6, Lalonde Gordon 45.3, Jehue Gordon 45.11 and Jarrin Solomon 45.73).
In striking contrast to his efforts in London twelve months earlier, his Moscow results were disappointing. However, like his mother Cynthia, we feel that the determination possessed by Lalonde Gordon will enable him to put these behind him and move ahead.
The high point of 2014 for Gordon came at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where, like at the London Olympics, he won two bronze medals: at 400m (in a season`s best of 44.78) and at 4x400m relay (3:01.51).
The first World Relay Championships, held in Nassau in May, saw TT third in a new national 4x400m record time of 2:58.34, with Lalonde leading off in 44.3 followed by Quow 44.6, Machel Cedenio 44.5 and Solomon 44.94 in the subsequent legs.
At the national championships in June, he retained his 200m title (20.28) and was second at 400m in 45.08, same time as the winner Quow.
Indoors he had a couple good wins in the USA, but then at the World Indoor Championships in March he only managed fifth in the 400m final.
In early August 2015 Lalonde won the NACAC 400m title (44.89) in San Jose, Costa Rica, after recording his seasonal best (44.64) in the semifinals.
Later that month at the Beijing World Championships he ran the fastest leg as TT took the 4x400m relay silver medal in a national record time of 2:58.20 (splits: Quow 44.9, Lalonde 44.1, Lendore 44.8, Cedenio 44.4). In the individual event, unfortunately, his semifinal time of 44.70 did not qualify him for the 400m final.
At the World Relay Championships in Nassau despite his fast leadoff leg of 45.88 the national team only clocked 3:03.10 to finish in seventh place, while at the national championships in June he was third (46.45) at 400m and fourth (20.71) at 200m.
During the season he had run 400m under 45 seconds no less than five times.
Lalonde began 2016 with some good wins under cover, plus a mile relay bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships, where he was also sixth in the 400m final. In late June he ran his season`s best (44.69) finishing second in the National Championships, after clocking 45.09 and 44.84 earlier in the month.
Unfortunately at the Rio Olympics he did not get to 400m final after placing eighth in his semifinal. In addition the 4x400m relay team was disqualified in the qualifying round, and was unable to defend the bronze medal taken at the London Olympic Games four years earlier.
The 2017 season peaked for Lalonde Godon at the World Championships in London. There, in early August he ran his seasonal best (45.02) in the 400m heats. One week later his 44.02 anchor leg earned our 4x400m relay team the world title and the gold medal in a new national record of 2:58.12 (other split times were 46.1 by Jarrin Solomon, 43.6 by Jereem Richards and 44.4 by Machel Cedenio).
Earlier in the year he had some good indoor wins in the USA, while at the national championships in June he was second at 400m (45.27) and sixth at 200m (20.66). Curiously, this was the first time since 2013 that Lalonde`s year best was not under 45 seconds.
During 2018 Gordon ran twice on the national 4x400m relay team: at the World Indoor Championships (4th) and at the Commonwealth Games (semifinal only). At the latter he did not go beyond the first round of the individual 400m event.
His brief season began with some indoor races in New York, and closed with his 200m win (21.11) at the Grenada Invitational meeting on 21 April.
Prepared by Linley Bernard for the NAAATT © 2014 :: Updated 2018
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