by Howard Campbell
[MARGATE] – Neville Myton, who represented Jamaica at two Olympics and mentored top athletes like Veronica Campbell-Brown, died here May 19 at age 74.
His wife, Paulette, told South Florida Caribbean News that the cause of death was cancer. Myton would have celebrated his 75th birthday on May 28.
He represented Jamaica at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964 and Mexico in 1968.
In 1964, Myton ran the 880 yards in one minute 47.2 seconds, becoming the first Jamaican junior world record holder. That record still stands.
From Old Harbour Bay in St. Catherine parish, Myton first caught the attention of Jamaican track officials while competing for Excelsior High School.
He was a double gold medallist at the 1966 Central American and Caribbean Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, first taking the individual 800 metres title. His second gold medal came as a member of the Jamaica 4×400 meters relay team.
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 trio were part of the San Jose team that won the 1969 NCAA Championships.
After he retired from athletics, Myton returned to Jamaica where he successfully coached track, soccer and cricket at the high school level.
In recent years, he mentored many athletes including Campbell-Brown, the winner of two Olympic gold medals over 200 meters.
Paulette, his wife of 30 years, remembers Myton as “positive, thoughtful, hopeful. That was him, how he lived.”
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.
Cedric Myton, a member of roots-reggae group The Congos, is his cousin.