New Levell: Former Edwin Allen sprinter overcomes High school injury struggles to achieve Olympic dream

By July 09, 2024
LEVELL...Honestly, I was demotivated a lot of times, especially when the injuries occurred. LEVELL...Honestly, I was demotivated a lot of times, especially when the injuries occurred.

There is no doubt that the journey to athletic excellence is a path often fraught with challenges, but for Bryan Levell, the hurdles he faced in his final year at Edwin Allen High School only served to strengthen his resolve.

Though frustrated that a troublesome hamstring strain kept him off the track for much of that season, Levell used the time to focus on rehabilitation and conditioning, and his patience and perseverance paid off, as he made a remarkable comeback at the JAAA National Senior Championships recently.

Not only did Levell break the 10-second barrier in the men’s 100m when he clocked a new personal best 9.98s in semis, he also went sub-20 seconds over the 200m to claim his first national title in another lifetime best of 19.97s at the National Stadium.

But beyond all that is the fact that the 20-year-old, as a first-year professional, defied the odds and secured a spot on Jamaica’s team for the upcoming Paris Olympic Games.

Levell eases across the line ahead of Andrew Hudson in the men's 200m final.

“It’s a great feeling. Representing Jamaica at the Olympics has always been my dream, and to achieve it in my first year in the professional ranks is beyond words, but I believe it is a testament to my hard work, dedication, and passion to go as far as I can in athletics,” Levell told Sportsmax.TV.

“Last year I was out for a couple of months due to a hamstring injury so I couldn’t get to participate in my final year at Boys’ and Girls’ Champs, which was incredibly frustrating, but thanks to God and my coach Shanikie Osbourne I am now healthy and stronger this year. It wasn’t easy, but we fought through the challenges, put in the work in training and we got it done,” he added.

Despite the physical and emotional toll of persistent injuries, which threatened to derail his transition to the professional level, Levell refused to throw in the proverbial towel.

Instead, the decorated Champs, Carifta, and Under-20 World Championship medalist, worked tirelessly with coach Osbourne to get through what he said is the toughest period of his athletic life to date.

“Honestly, I was demotivated a lot of times, especially when the injuries occurred, but I always kept the bigger picture in mind and encouraged myself that it wasn’t the end and I still had time because I was young. So at times, I was more focused on the comeback as opposed to the situation, and my family and coach were also pillars of strength,” Levell shared.

“I also knew the transition would be tough and would require a lot more work, but I was determined and ready to give it everything, and I was surrounded by a great support system, and that made all the difference,” he noted.

Levell in full flight during the 200m semis.

While looking ahead to the Paris Games, Levell also reflected on the lessons learnt along the way, as he stands ready to embrace the challenges to come with the same level of determination and focus on his goals.

“I would say it was all a big lesson for me to trust the process, be patient and never to give up. So I am working on both my mental and physical preparation for Paris, obviously it will be my first time on the world’s biggest stage and I want to do well…I want to continue improving and make my mark on the sport,” Levell declared.

“So my aim is just to focus on my lane in Paris, execute as best as I can and then take it from there. There’s a lot more I want to achieve so I just want to stay healthy, continue to put in the work and just be the best version of myself,” the soft-spoken athlete ended.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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