Excerpted from the 1979 Kingston College year book
On any day of the school week and sometimes on a Saturday, the familiar sight of a man, clad usually in a T-shirt and slacks can be seen either on the field or down at the Sports Department supervising weight training.
He stands only 5 feet 5 inches and weights 138 pounds and at first glance seems to be about 40 years of age. He is actually 56 years old. Remarkable? Not really, when the man is Mr. William McLean “Youngster” Goldsmith, former Feather-weight Champion of Jamaica and presently a physical instructor at Kingston College.
Mr. G as he is affectionately known, spent the early years of his life in Morant Bay, the town of his birth, before leaving in 1935 to attend Kingston College. It was here, at the age of 15 that Mr. G’s love for weights began. In 1939, when he left Kingston College he started a Gym on Blake Road and there he started his regular training with his sights set on the Feather-weight Championship Title. Success soon came his way and he went on to hold this title for 13 years.
This splendid achievement was however surpassed when, on the 6th of December 1948 Mr. G gained National recognition as the first Jamaican to clean and jerk double his body weight by lifting 281 ¾ pounds ! The amazing fact is, however, that this record is yet to be broken.
Following on his National success, Mr. G was then selected to represent Jamaica at the Pan-American Games. At this meet he placed second to the then reigning Champion.
In 1952, apparently needing a change, Mr. G. left Jamaica for England. In the same year he became the Feather-weight of London by winning the Home County Championship. His next move was to Poland in 1956 and Russia in 1957 to attend the World’s Festival of Youth. Following his visit to Russia he then represented Jamaica at the Commonwealth Games in West Germany where he managed to place third from a field of top-class competitors.
In August of 1961, after a visit to Czechoslovakia, Mr. G. decided to come home. He did so in every sense of the word as he returned to Kingston College to occupy the post of physical instructor. To put it in Mr. G.’s own words “I couldn’t give up the old school at all, sir.”
Mr. G. approached his job with much the same dedication and discipline which had earned him fame and recognition in his earlier years and soon success was to way again. In his first year at KC, he introduced weight-training as part of the Sports Programme thus making KC the first High School in Jamaica to use weights as part of training. This innovation paid off as in the following year we began our fourteen year hold on the Mortimer Geddes Trophy and three years later we were able to produce a Manning Cup team that is yet to be equaled in its achievements.
Having been at KC for approximately eighteen years, Mr. G. had the opportunity to watch the development of many athletes at school. He has fond memories of famous KC personalities such as Jimmy Grant, Neville Oxford, Michael Holding and of course Lennox “Billy” Miller in particular, who he remembers as being “so dedicated to his training and very disciplined.” There is little doubt that Lennox Miller was a man after Mr. G.’s own heart.
Today, roughly 20 years after he has given up competitive weight-lifting, Mr. G. still exercises on a regular basis. His former three hours a day, five days a week training programme has of course been reduced to about two hours a day for three days per week. He never misses his training as he says it makes him feel so good afterwards that “you wouldn’t believe it. Yes sir, exercise is a wonderful thing.”
In addition to exercising regularly Mr. G. neither smokes nor does he drink alcohol or stay out late at nights. All these are, in his opinion, contributing factors to his excellent health. He derives great pleasure and personal satisfaction from training the boys as he finds them very respectful and co-operative. He is very happy with the present Sports Programme and is pleased to see that we at KC are finally adopting more professional methods of training our athletes. To this end he feels that there will be no stopping us now as we are definitely on the move.
We can only consider ourselves lucky to have had the continued services of someone as devoted as Mr. Goldsmith but then, what else could one expect from a Kingston College Old Boy?
William McLean Goldsmith was born Feb. 28, 1923. He died on January 5th, 2013.