Rodney Adolphus Wilkes won Trinidad and Tobago’s first-ever Olympic medal at the London Olympics in 1948.
The weightlifter won a silver medal by lifting 317.5 kg, second only to Egyptian Mahmoud Fayad.
Nicknamed “The Mighty Midget”, he remained relatively unknown outside of local competition until winning gold at the 1946 Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia. His performances included record lifts of 205 pounds (93 kg) in the press, 210 pounds (95 kg) in the snatch, and 275 pounds (125 kg) in the clean and jerk.
At Helsinki Olympics in 1952, Wilkes again won a medal
On this occasion, he won the bronze medal behind Rafael Chimishkyan and Nikolai Saksonov, both from the Soviet Union. After a brief period of retirement in 1953, Wilkes returned to competition and won gold at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver; four years later he won bronze at the Cardiff Games.
He was the inaugural champion of the inaugural Pan American Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1951 and was a gold medalist at the British Commonwealth Games in 1954.
Wilkes’ last Olympic appearance was at the Melbourne Games in 1956. He finished fourth with a combined lift of 330 kilograms (730 lb), missing out on a medal by one place and 5 kg. He continued to compete until 1960 but retired for good when he failed to make the West Indies squad for the Rome Olympics.