Wed | Mar 21, 2018

Letter of the Day | Lessons from Rio

Published:Thursday | August 18, 2016 | 12:01 AM

Omar McLeod overcoming his falls to leap over the hurdles and take his place in history provides many teachable moments. They include the need to understand that those who provide support and encouragement outnumber naysayers.

I wish Jamaicans would stop defeating themselves in their race of life.

The making of a great people is an everyday affair, not just for a season, and requires us to manage expectations, deal with failure and disappointment and treat each other with respect, especially when we do not agree with each other. In our moments of success, let us display genuine happiness and cut out the scathing criticisms. We are in the process of building capacity. Is it possible for us to be supportive of Olympians Grace Jackson and Felix Sanchez as they undertake the daunting task of commenting?

Yes, they might need better orientation, but they have a lot going for them. They have not only been employed for Jamaicans but for a much wider global audience which is more likely to have great respect for them.

We are hard on ourselves and each other in ways that are counterproductive and which play into the hands of those with whom we compete internationally. Some in America are trying to destroy their own young black gymnasts and swimmers by criticising their hair and facial expressions, while ignoring their stellar performances.




Some of us in Jamaica criticised Bolt until he nearly gave up athletics. His coach, Glen Mills, told him to ignore his detractors. Veronica Campbell-Brown's mother had to write a public letter some years ago when some heaped scorn on her for 'only' winning a silver medal.

Self-belief and a capacity for praising others are necessary to get us out of this mental rut. People who believe in themselves transmit that to their children. We do not need to bleach our skins or spend time cursing each other when we could be building and lifting. Our coaches have demonstrated that identifying talent, believing in young people, building trust and demonstrating confidence are the most important things to building success. This goes for the nation as a whole.

Hilary Robertson-Hickling