Sun | Dec 4, 2016

Stephen Francis labels Usain Bolt a 'nice person', but says he doesn't fit into his philosophy

Published:Wednesday | March 4, 2015 | 12:00 AMShayne Fairman
Usain Bolt

Stephen Francis, head coach of Maximising Velocity and Power (MVP) track club, has revealed he turned down the opportunity to coach double Olympic world record holder Usain Bolt.

"When I got the chance to coach Bolt, I turned it down because coaching Bolt was not my idea of what coaching should be like," he said.

"I know somebody had to coach him, but it is not in me for the easy pass. I like the hardship and challenges," Francis told The Gleaner in an interview.

He added that his style is not about coaching the best athletes at Champs or elsewhere.

"I delight in taking the guy who was fourth, fifth or sixth and try and beat the guy who won," he continued.

Francis lauded Bolt as a unique athlete, with the 28-year-old living legend being the first man to win the 100 metres and 200 metres at consecutive Olympic Games, and the first man to ever win back-to-back gold medals in the sprints.

"At the time, I didn't know he (Bolt) was such a nice person, but coaching for me was never about having the fastest man or woman."

Francis says his role as coach is to make a difference and see athletes achieve more than they imagined.

"I like making a difference and see people achieve more than they could have even thought.

"That is what I like and how I am," he underlined.

The MVP guru conditioned Asafa Powell, who was arguably raw talent at Boys' Champs. He became a world record holder in the 100m from 2005-2008, with times of 9.77 and 9.74 seconds, respectively.

 

underdog position

 

Another of Francis' charges, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, was a virtual unknown at age 21, but won 100m gold at the 2008 Olympics.

She is one of three women in the world to win back-to-back Olympic 100m gold medals, and the second woman in history to hold both World and Olympic 100m titles.

"I like when people write us (MVP) off and say this person gone and that person gone, and when we come again, everybody says wow," Francis reasoned.

Francis' achievements with MVP athletes include 18 Olympic medals, 43 World Championship medals, five world records, three Olympic records, and 20 national re-cords since its inception in 1999.

"Sometimes it is almost embarrassing to see the appreciation the Jamaican people have shown for me or the work I have done," he underscored.

"I have love and respect for the Jamaican people; it is their approval that is more important to me than any award."