André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
From frustrated sprint hurdler to Olympic 200m bronze medallist in a year, Warren Weir's story is nothing short of spectacular, as the young man from Refuge in Trelawny and Waterford in Portmore, showed that just about anything is possible, if you put your mind to it.
This time last year, Weir, who last night finished third in the 200m final behind countrymen and training partners Usain Bolt, 19.32, and Yohan Blake, 19.44, was just getting to grips with the half-lap event.
Last night's result made Jamaica only the second team to have a 200m medal sweep at the Olympic Games after the USA, which has done it on six occasions.
Forced to change his focus from the 110m hurdles because of an injury that affected him whenever he hurdled, Weir showed that he was a quick learner, lowering his personal best on several occasions over the last year, before punching his ticket to the London Olympics, with a third-place finish at the Jamaican Olympic Trials.
It was there that Racers Track Club coach, Glen Mills labelled the 22 year-old as the heart of the club; high praise for a virtual unknown.
Heart and determination
However, the youngster would show that heart and determination when it mattered most, on the biggest sporting stage of all - the Olympic Games.
Weir got out in a hurry over the first 50 metres before consolidating his position and letting loose on the final 80 metres, keeping seasoned campaigners such as three- time IAAF World Championships 200m medallist Wallace Spearmon, Churandy Martina and Christophe Lemaitre at bay, while posting a personal best 19.84 seconds.
The former Calabar student was full of praise for his coach Glen Mills and was extremely happy to be a part of the historic achievement.
"It's an excellent feeling to know that we were able to do this for Jamaica and come out here and be a part of history," said Weir. "To come into the London Olympics and run in the 200m and run 19.84 after switching from the hurdles, coach Mills, your vision paid off."
Weir who said he was surprised by his development in the 200m, credited Mills for always believing in him and for keeping his promise to make him a sprinter that the world will come to know and respect.
"Coach Mills saw it, I was a bit in my mind, doubtful because I was saying I'm not that quick, but as the months went by, I saw that vision coming through," Weir said. "Mills is like a father to me and a true inspiration. He saw me from Calabar and told me that he will turn me into a sprinter that the world will see and recognise and I have to say coach Mills, a big thank you."