Letter of the Day | Elaine appears to be stuck between rock and hard place
THE EDITOR, Madam:
Two-time double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson Herah is once again at a crossroads as it relates to coaching. The sprint icon, coached by her husband, Derron Herah, after parting ways with the UTech-based MVP Club following a stellar 2021 season, is now left without a proper coach. This, as she has since parted ways with Shanikie Osbourne, who took up temporary coaching duties as the ‘Big Machine’, as she’s affectionately called by fans, and she finished a disappointing fifth in the women’s 100m finals at this past summer’s National Senior Trials.
Since leaving the Paul Francis-led institution at the tail end of 2021, Thompson Herah has only looked like a fraction of her old self. Indeed, after an average 2022 season by her own lofty standards, trouble was again on the horizon after a late start to the 2023 season. Murmurs began swirling within the track circles that Thompson Herah was not looking good in training, as evidenced by the late start to her season and her poor performances.
In her late-season opener at the JAAA All Comers Meet at Jamaica College in June, she told reporters that she was on the brink of giving up because she was putting in the work but wasn’t yielding the desired results. Of course, those desired results would continue to elude her as she finished down the track at trials. So, what went wrong? As the age-old adage goes, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”
As a fan of the sport and also a “stan” of Thompson Herah, there were some moves that she made professionally that I felt were premature. When she left MVP, many, including me, were perplexed by the move.
Under the not-so-watchful eyes of her husband, she was only able to secure a third-place finish at the Eugene World Championships, a Commonwealth double, and a 10.79 season’s best. With 2024 being an Olympic year, many have high hopes that she would return to form based on her strong performances over a four-month period under the watchful eyes of the experienced Osbourne. In August, Osbourne told TVJ Sports that Thompson Herah “has a lot of speed, and it’s not hard to pull it out of her”, and that was evidenced by a series of season’s bests: 11.00, 10.92, 10.84, and 10.79 that followed.
With news of Thompson Herah’s split from Osbourne because of a disagreement in remuneration for her services, in a press release, Thompson Herah’s agent, Andi Sports Management, stated that Osbourne’s proposal was “extremely excessive”, without room to negotiate.
The intervention of longtime mentor Damia Russell, who sought to bring both parties to a common ground, appears to have made matters worse, as it is alleged that Mr Herah started to curse at them, claiming they were trying to extort him.
The Olympic champion is now left stuck between a rock and a hard place. The question is, does she not have a say in her own career and what’s best for her? Remind me again: who’s on the brink of history?