Slack aiming for Olympics double
Leighton Levy, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Heptathlete Salcia Slack has plans to compete in two Olympic Games in the next four years - the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in two years; and the Winter Olympics in South Korea two years later.
The 24-year-old Slack, who competed for Jamaica at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this past summer, is revealing her ambitions of trying out for a female Jamaican bobsled team in November and hopes to be in Pyeongchang, South Korea, creating history for her country in 2018.
"The reason I am choosing to do this is because it's something different and after watching Cool Runnings at an early age, it just looks like fun and for Jamaica to have a female team in bobsled, I am more than happy to be a part of history," said the New Mexico Highlands University student.
The Jamaica Bobsled Federation, buoyed by how the world rallied around efforts to send a two-man Jamaican team to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, last February, has ambitions of sending two two-man and two four-man men's teams and two two-woman teams to South Korea. As if to signal the serious nature of their intentions the federation has hired celebrated bobsled coach Todd Hayes, who led the USA women's bobsled team to silver- and bronze-medal performances, the most successful results in their history, in Sochi. The federation has also launched a couple of recruiting drives the last of which was held at G.C. Foster College in September. The drives have attracted interest from a number of Jamaican athletes, including retired decathlete Maurice Smith.
Slack, who last season set a NCAA Division II record for the heptathlon with 5,833 points while scoring 54 of New Mexico Highlands' school-record 170 points at the RMAC track and field championships, said she was approached during the summer.
"I was contacted via email by coach Hayes while at the Commonwealth Games and I told him I would give it some thought and talk to my coach (Bob DeVries) about it, so my first tryout will be sometime in November," she said.
Hayes described Slack as a special athlete who possesses the Jamaican trademark athleticism.
The former Holmwood Technical standout said she believes she can find the time to fit training for both her athletic and pending bobsled career into her already hectic schedule.
"My schedule is hectic so I have to try and make way for this to fit in because opportunities like this only come along once in a lifetime and so I have decided to make myself available for something like this," she said.
She revealed she will sacrifice what little social life she has to ensure she makes the cut as she believes training for the bobsled team could actually aid her preparation for Rio.
"I know this will help me be better in track and field because it will help me increase my strength and my speed," she said.
Meanwhile, Slack, who has resumed classes at New Mexico, said she is happier than ever at school now that her son Bedray is now in the United States with her. She was forced to leave him behind for school and spent most of last season pining over him.
"I am a lot more comfortable now that my pride and joy is here with me. I can now focus more on all my goals rather than stressing out myself being away from him. I don't think I have ever been happy like this in my entire life," she said.