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Run fast, party hard?

Published:Monday | June 20, 2011 | 12:00 AM

  • Athletes reveal their preferences ahead of London Olympics

Olivea Hayles, Gleaner Writer

It is no secret that some of Jamaica's athletes are avid partygoers.

In fact, the likes of Usain Bolt and Melaine Walker have showcased that part of our culture on the global stage.

While their schedule may not always allow them a social life, some athletes usually find the time to let their hair down.

What athletes do to unwind is almost as important as their training sessions. A happy, confident athlete is always more likely to do well. As part of The Gleaner's focus on Jamaica's efforts to make the London Olympics as special as the last, (held in Beijing, China), The Gleaner went ahead and took a look at how athletes relax. In fact, relaxing will be part of what they do when they get to London. What is available in London as far as entertainment goes, is indeed another story.

Keep your eyes posted to this space.

Anneisha McLaughlin, the 25-year-old who specialises in the 200 metres, said, "I really don't have a social life, and whenever I get the chance to do so (party), I'm so tired, especially this time of the season." While McLaughlin hardly has the time for it, she does like partying. According to her, she would go to parties at school and on the odd occasion, she may be found at a club. "I do go out in the background season when the training is less intense, and I have more time on my hands," she said.

Home body

Nesta Carter, the man who lead Jamaica to a world record 4x100 metre run in 2008 in Beijing, China and is now coming into his own in the individual sprint, is the opposite of his teammate, Usain Bolt. Bolt's love for a good party is legendary, but Carter, who is almost 26 years old, not so much. In fact, Carter describes himself as a homebody. "I party playing video games downstairs, and driving. That's my party," he said.

"I do party but that's like twice for the year," said the Stephen Francis-coached 100-metre track star.

Much like Carter, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 24, prefers the comfort of her home. The reigning 100 metre Olympic and World champion told The Gleaner two things, "I don't party, and I unwind at home." When asked if she doesn't party because of her schedule, Fraser-Pryce revealed something not many know - she's a Christian.

"I try my best to go to church as often as I can. I go to the movies or just go eat some food with friends," she explained. Fraser-Pryce, who worships at Penwood Church of Christ, went on to say that the closest she gets to a party are functions regarding her athletic obligations.

Yohan Blake, one of Jamaica's younger athletes and a prospect who seems to have a bright future, shares Fraser-Pryce's sentiment. "I don't party," he asserted. "I'm a Christian. I hang out with friends, play video games and cricket. I'm not the party type," said the World Junior bronze/silver medallist.

Contrastingly, Usain Bolt's love for partying has made headlines globally. The 100 and 200 metre Olympic champion (he also happens to hold the world record in both events as well as World Championship titles) is known to frequent the Quad, has been sighted at at least one club in London, and even owns his own sports bar (Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records). Bolt proves to be the epitome of an athlete who is 'well-rounded', performing on the track, finding time to party, as well as going into business.

Following suit is Asafa Powell. The former world record holder is from a religious background, but he too is known to party and along with Bolt, enjoys being among the fastest men the world has ever seen.

Our athletes run fast, and some of them at least, party hard. Powell has also been the promoter behind an oldies party which takes aim at a charity, while Bolt's 9.58 party was an instant success. Let's see if some of the party spirit, which is almost synonymous with being Jamaican these days, will make its way to London.