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‘GB’, a true alchemist of sports and business

By Jamila Cross

With the singular accolade of a life well lived, a plethora of roles, and accomplishments, Gordon Borde is no stranger to the sport, and business fraternity of Trinidad and Tobago.

At age 82, he looks two days shy of his 62nd birthday and this is not being generous. He explains to me the key to his vitality, ‘‘swimming four days a week, and every day I take vitamin D, C, and zinc. I eat little in the morning, a big lunch, and little at night.”

This seems very plausible, for he lives with a spark, and indomitable spirit that is marked by his life, work and contribution to Trinidad and Tobago.

His lifestyle includes consistent physical activity, and a strong camaraderie with the ‘boys’ at Trinity Masters with whom he swims most days, and on Sundays, a group swam at Maracas Beach prior to lockdown.

At 82, he maintains his competitive spirit, and averages 8,000 metres weekly. He would be an ideal candidate from all appearances to be from one of the “blue zones”- regions of the world where a higher than usual number of people live much longer than average and share common lifestyle characteristics that contribute to their longevity.

But there is little comparison for this master who has excelled in so many areas of his life with a charisma and unwavering passion for life that is undeniable.

In 2019, I met Gordon Borde, fondly known by his friends as ‘GB’ while training at the St Mary’s College swimming pool while preparing for my first Ironman 70.3 competition the following year.

His easy-going nature, and ability to warmly greet everyone makes you feel immediately at ease. He is authentic, erudite, and from our first introduction, he would always make the time to chat about my training and competitive aspirations after my sessions.

This was not idle talk, but conscious nuggets of wisdom which always made me feel an even greater commitment to press forward. He would always say the same thing, “that is great Jamila! You must keep at it, and don’t give up!”. Borde lives his life with a sense of purpose, he is a man of the people who appears to have had the faith, strength, and courage to pursue his personal dreams.


Lives for the competition

Gordon began swimming as part of Fatima College Sea Scouts and represented Trinidad and Tobago in both water polo and swimming from 1968 to 1980.

‘‘In those days, there was only one pool in the country, Mt St Benedict, so we became proficient swimmers in the open water.”

Borde has competed in over 111 open water competitions, and some of his milestones include: 1962, swimming the first Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ASATT) Five Islands to Carenage Jetty race. He won, repeating the feat in ‘63 and ‘64.

In 1985 he and Joey Kaufmann competed in the inaugural FINA World Masters Championship, held in Canada. Borde placed fourth in the 200m freestyle, 45 to 49 age group.

His regional competitions include 25 combined Grenada and Barbados open water swims, Las Cuevas to Maracas Bay (8,000m), ‘Round Gasparee Island’ swim (7,000m). ASATT Open Water Classic started in 1962 in which he has competed over 60 times.

As a true sportsman, he lives for the competition, and is hoping to participate in the Pan American Masters Championship 2022 in Medellin, Colombia.

Borde’s professional career spanned four decades. He notes that he started off as  an assistant cashier at Neal and Massy Automotive, (now Massy Motors) progressively moving through the ranks, retiring as the CEO of Mel’s Automotive.

Shortly after his retirement, he was asked to become the managing director of Bavarian Motors (BMW) dealership and is a former director of First Citizens Bank Asset Management.

With a strong business acumen, he served on six occasions as Vice President of the ASATT. While he acknowledges his professional accomplishments, he regards himself as a family man.

This year he celebrated his diamond anniversary (60 years) with his wife Sonja Rodriguez Borde. Together they raised their three children Dexter, Richard, and Natalie who have all excelled in their respective fields. He proudly shares, ‘‘I am grandfather of eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.”

Today, Gordon Borde remains professionally active. In 2012, he joined Massy Realty as a real estate agent. He is a true alchemist who has learnt to transform the simple into gold.

He is a man who understands above all else that his treasure is within, as he relentlessly continues to live to the fullest as an inspiration to us all!


Jamila Cross is a triathlete, former professional footballer for Sevilla FC women’s Club Spain, and mother of three boys Tishad, Akim and Santiago. She is the founder of the Mariama Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation raising the storytelling bar for the Caribbean’s female athletes.