The Wright View | Thompson needs a breather
“It takes cash to care” and “money makes the mare run”, are different sayings that try to emphasise the importance of money in the pursuit of success. It is true that to continue to be successful, in any sport, money is king.
In different sports around the world, we now see that the richer clubs, teams, or countries tend to dominate a particular sport in the long term. There are, however, periods when the “little” man or poor athlete seems to defy the odds and becomes successful. However, as success after success becomes more associated with money, there appears to be a change, wherein collecting more and more money becomes more important than everything else. The ‘rich’ clubs, schools, individuals all seem to morph into sources of income, and in doing so, forget the very essence of what made them successful in the first place.
Our double Olympic Champion, Elaine Thompson (ET), has been performing exceptionally well since the beginning of the 2017 athletics season. We are told, and do believe, that the main aim of our world-class sprinter this year is success in the World Championships, to be held in London in August of this year.
Another possible aim seems to be winning the top prize in the Diamond League series of races. Fourteen races are scheduled this year, and to date, three have already been completed: Doha in Qatar, Shanghai in China, and Eugene, Oregon, in the United States. ET has competed in all three, including the World relays in The Bahamas, and the Jamaican International Invitational here at home.
Every time our champion and World Championship favourite has run, she has given her all. She runs as fast as she can, doing herself, and her country proud, and we must never forget, earning well-needed foreign exchange for herself and her support staff. Hours in an airplane, hours training and always running through to the end of her races, regardless of how far the competition is behind her. Our champion is focused.
The World Relays took place in the Bahamas on April 22 and 23, the meet in Doha on May 5, the race in Qatar on May 13; the Jamaica International Invitational in Kingston on May 20, and the race in Eugene on May 27. Is that not a taxing schedule? How does the body of a female athlete recover from travelling for hours in an airplane, training, and running at full speed week after week after week?
No one can successfully question her coach, who has guided other female track and field athletes to international success and glory, peaking at the right time in order to dazzle the world with world-leading times year after year.
But at some stage, medical knowledge and experience MUST count and advice sought and implemented. ET ran a season best 21.98 in Eugene last Saturday, but discerning eyes saw what appeared to be a troubling lack of early speed and a failure to shift gears in the straight when faced with the speed of Torie Bowie and Shaunae Miller-Uibo. Some of us believe that our ET was tired and needed a rest. In fact, after victory in Jamaica in 22.09, our sprint queen told a local interviewer that she was “tired”.
Questioning the tactics of a legendary coach with a résumé of success as long as the North Coast Highway is not to be encouraged, but maybe, just maybe, medical advice may be instructive on the way to victory in London in August.
The loss of fourth-ranked Jamaica to twelfth-ranked Barbados in the final match of a three Test series that ended even, still rankles Jamaican netball fans. This was made worse by the statement made by Netball Jamaica’s president suggesting that the series of matches was to assist Barbados in improving their chances of qualifying for the Commonwealth Games.
After listening to comments from our new coach, before the loss to Barbados, I am reminded of a quote from Eddie Robinson, a famous American Football coach. He said: “Coaching is a profession of love. You can’t coach people unless you love them.” If Jamaica could have won, they should have won! Good luck coach! As the great Winston Nevers said: “We have to support you. You are the coach of the Sunshine Girls.”