COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Deon Lendore, an Olympic bronze medal-winning sprinter for Trinidad & Tobago and former NCAA champion at Texas A&M, was killed in a head-on collision in Texas, state police said. He was 29.
Lendore, a volunteer assistant coach at Texas A&M, died Monday after his car drifted across the center line, sideswiped a vehicle and then collided with a sport-utility vehicle, said Sgt. Bryan Washko, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman. Texas A&M coach Pat Henry said Lendore was driving home from practice when the crash happened.
Lendore died at the scene. The driver of the SUV, a 65-year-old woman, was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, DPS said. The driver of the vehicle sideswiped by Lendore before the collision was not injured. The cause of the crash was under investigation Tuesday.
Lendore ran in the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Olympics and anchored Trinidad & Tobago to a bronze medal in the 1,600-meter relay in London in 2012. In 2014, he went undefeated through 14 races at 400 meters while winning individual NCAA indoor and outdoor championships.
“He epitomized hope and joy each time his feet landed on the track,” Trinidad Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe said. “He was indeed a trailblazer, a life gone too soon. We thank him for everything he has done and for giving distinguished and diligent service to TT.”
Lendore spent the past two years as a volunteer assistant at Texas A&M while he continued to compete professionally.
“I can’t even express this loss,” Henry said. “Over the years our relationship had changed to not only one of my athletes to coach, but he was loved by my wife, children and grandchildren. He was part of my family. It hurts, it really hurts.”
Lendore tributes on social media
Tributes for Lendore poured in across social media Tuesday.
Texas A&M Track and Field wrote on Twitter that Lendore was an inspiration to all — “It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of Deon Lendore. An inspiration and motivator to those around him, the impact he had not only on Aggie track & field, but across the world, will be greatly missed.”
The Bowerman Award, which is given to the top male and female college athlete each year, shared multiple tributes to Lendore on social media. Lendore was the first Bowerman winner from the Southeastern Conference, winning the award in 2014.
World Athletics posted an obituary of Lendore on its website and through social media.