Thu | Jan 18, 2018

Staying strong for Germaine - Bolt determined to push on for fallen friend

Published:Sunday | June 4, 2017 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe
Christopher Martin (left), Ian Goodison (second left), Usain Bolt, (second right) and Clive 'Busy' Campbell carry the body of former athlete Germaine Mason at his funeral at Hagley Park Seventh Day Adventist Church on Hagley Park Road in Kingston recently.
Sprint legend Usain Bolt and Kasi Bennett could not hold back the tears at Germaine Mason's Funeral at the Hagley Park Seventh Day Adventist Church on Hagley Park Road in Kingston recently.

Sprinting superstar Usain Bolt has shared that it has been a struggle coming to grips with the passing of his close friend, Germaine Mason, but noted that he is determined to end his season and career on a high in honour of the Jamaican-born British high jumping standout.

Mason, 34, died on April 20 in a motorcycle accident close to the Harbour View roundabout in east Kingston, with a grieving Bolt missing the next two and a half weeks of training in what will be his last season on the track.

Bolt, who had announced several months ago that he would be hanging up his spikes at the World Championships in August, says that he is now back in training and pushing himself to be in the best shape possible ahead of his swansong in London.

"It was rough for me at the start. It (Mason's death) took us by surprise and set me back a little bit training- wise," Bolt told the Sunday Gleaner.


First on the scene


The sprinter was one of the first persons on the scene of the accident after earlier partying with Mason and other friends at a party in downtown Kingston. Images of a crying Bolt, taken at Mason's funeral, showed the world just how difficult it was for the sprinter.

"Mentally, I wasn't ready to even train for, like, two and a half weeks, which I had to take off and just collect myself," he added.

"So I have been working hard trying to get back to where I was, but I am confident in myself and my coach that we can get it done because we have done it years and years, and this year isn't any different. So it was tough, but I have to focus on what I have to do," continued Bolt, who was also a pallbearer at Mason's May 21 thanksgiving service.


Putting in the work


Bolt, who will compete for the last time on Jamaican soil at Saturday's JN Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium, says that he is putting in the work to get back into shape and that though it has been a tough road back for him, he knows that his friend would have wanted him to continue pushing through and end his career on a high note in London.

"I know my friend would have wanted me to go out there to do my best and to be strong and to be focused on what needs to be done," said Bolt.

"There is no other place to do the last one. The Olympics in London was out of this world. The support, the energy in the stadium was magnificent. Everywhere in the world I go people keep saying, 'See you in London'. I don't know if they have so many tickets, but I know the energy is going to be amazing, and it will definitely be emotional for me," he added of this summer's championship.

"It's the last one, and so many Jamaican fans will be there, and it's for me to go out in as much glory as I can. I am looking forward to it."

Mason, the national record holder in the high jump, won several medals at the junior and senior levels for Jamaica before switching allegiance to Great Britain and winning Olympic silver at the Beijing 2008 Games.