Olympic bronze medalist, Candice McLeod, has opened up on her friendship with fellow Olympian Shericka Jackson, whom she describes as the driving force behind her athletic success.

McLeod, who returned from the Tokyo Olympics with her first Olympic medal as a member of Jamaica's 4x400m relay team revealed that her friendship with Jackson started 12 years ago while they were both students at Vere Technical High School where Jackson, who was one of the older students at the time, took her under her wing.

Speaking on Sportsmax.TV's On Point published on YouTube last Friday, McLeod said Jackson saw something in her that she didn’t see in herself.

“Shericka has been a very supportive friend. I was at Vere Technical, on the dorms for my first half of high school and the older students would choose one of the new ones to mentor. She chose me and stuck by me ever since,” she said.

McLeod opened up about Jackson always finding time to motivate her despite the gap in performance throughout high school.

"In high school, she was running 52 and I was running 63. I've been running 63 for three years and she'd get up every day and motivate me the same way she did every single day knowing she's running 52 and I'm running 63. That's a very special friendship," she said. 

The now 25-year-old McLeod, (November 15 is her birthday) who ran a personal best 49.51 in her Olympic semi-final said that in addition to her goal to win an Olympic medal in mile way, was to ensure that Jackson got a third medal after her mentor and friend failed to advance in the Olympic 200m after badly mistiming her run in the preliminary round and was eliminated on time.

“I was her roommate (in Tokyo) and missing out in the 200 definitely took a toll on her. I did not go out there with the aim of getting myself a medal because it was a team event,” she said.

The former Papine High student said the key to their friendship is being able to hold each other accountable.

 “She has someone who’s going to tell her she’s wrong when she’s wrong or right when she’s right and that she needs to work harder. We both want the same thing for each other, regardless of if we’re in the same race.”

 You can watch the full interview with Candice McLeod on the Sportsmax YouTube channel.

 

 

Jamaica’s Olympic 100m and 200m champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah and the USA’s Ryan Crouser have been named 2021 Female and Male Athletes of the Year for the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association.

After an illustrious career that spanned more than two decades, St Lucian high jumper Levern Spencer has called time on her athletic career.

A four-time Olympian, Spencer is a multiple CAC and Pan Am Games champion, who created history in 2018 when she became the first St Lucian to win the high jump gold medal at the Commonwealth Games held on Australia’s Gold Coast.

However, after failing to make the finals of the high jump at the Tokyo Olympics in August, the 37-year-old St Lucian star, has decided it was time to hang up her spikes.

“After 23 consecutive years of representing St. Lucia in the sport of track and field, I have, after careful consideration and analysis, made the tough decision to retire, effective 31st October 2021,” she said in a statement released on Wednesday.

“It was a challenging journey laced with lots of literal blood, sweat, and tears, but a very rewarding journey as well, which led me to four consecutive Olympics, eight consecutive World Championships, five consecutive Commonwealth Games, and gave me 16 Sportswoman of The Year titles.

“So as I hang up my spikes as Commonwealth Champion, Central America & The Caribbean Champion, Pan American Champion and North & Central America and the Caribbean Champion, I say a big thank you to the Government and People of St. Lucia for the privilege of flying our flag regionally and internationally for all these years, and for your support on this journey.”

She thanked corporate St. Lucia for its support and the media “for consistently reporting on all that I did for my country.”

“As I say farewell to a sport that I love so much, I do so with a great sense of pride and joy knowing that I did my best to, against all odds, give our tiny nation the best representation possible, on and off the field.”

Spencer, whose personal best was 1.98m, a national record, had her best performance at an Olympic Games in Rio 2016 when she cleared 1.93m to finish sixth in the final.

When Joel Ricketts places his foot on his board in Cali, Colombia at the Junior Pan American Games later this year, he will have created history as the first Jamaican to compete in skateboarding in international competition but it will be only his first steps to representing the black, green and gold at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Since its entry into the Olympic Games in London in 1948, Jamaica has been represented at the Games in athletics, cycling, swimming, diving, gymnastics, judo, taekwondo and boxing. If Jamaica gets there, skateboarding would be the latest addition to the growing list of skills that the land of wood and water have paraded on the largest of sports’ global stages.

The gravity of such an accomplishment is not lost on the 16-year-old Ricketts.

"I'm glad that I could be given this opportunity to represent my country doing what I love. I would also like to thank the JOA and the SJL for giving me the said opportunity," he said.

Joel is an honour-roll student at Wolmer’s Boys School. The first of two children for project manager Joel Ricketts and his wife Loretta, a school teacher, Joel ran track, played football and basketball growing up but it was skateboarding that lit the cauldron of passion within him.

“Standing out vividly in my mind was the day I got a skateboard,” he said. “It was the most joyous day of my life. My passion for this particular sport led to my connection with Jamaica Skateboarding Federation and the Olympic body, Skateboarding Jamaica Ltd.

“This yearning of passion and exposure through the association has helped me to be a better team player and a more confident and disciplined individual. I am motivated and driven to excel in this sport and in other areas of my life. With the new-found self-determination and discipline gained as a result of skateboarding, this has allowed me to improve and own the skill and enjoyment of skateboarding.”

His declaration sounds like music to the ears of the Skateboarding Jamaica Limited (SJL) President Ryan Foster, who is also the Secretary-General and CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association.

“The Junior Pan Am Games in Colombia will be historic for Skateboarding Jamaica Ltd as it will represent the first time that Jamaica will be represented in skateboarding in an international tournament,” Foster said.

“As the president, I am extremely elated that our athlete will be allowed to showcase his talent and this will be used as a stepping stone to many great things to come. Tournaments such as these are seen by the Skateboarding Jamaica Board as the beginning to the pathway to qualification to the 2024 Olympic Games.”

Joel is currently in California for a training camp courtesy of the JOA and SJL to get much-needed practice with some of the best young skateboarders in the world that Foster believes will help lay the foundation for a successful campaign towards Paris in 2024.

 “We have a core of skateboarders currently, which will form part of our Olympic squad and the board of SJL will be working with our strategic stakeholders to ensure that Jamaica will have representation in 2024 Olympics," the president said.

Meanwhile, Joel revealed that he is learning a lot in California.

“I am learning a lot, really, but what I am really working on is breaking the lines together and getting over the fear factor of skateboarding, which is falling but the basics are down so what we are working on is putting the basics together and formatting them into my trick system,” he said.

Creating history for Jamaica in the sport, he said, is both terrifying and satisfying.

“It’s a bit nerve-racking but I am also excited. I got this opportunity to do what I love, there is nothing better than that so I am just going to do the best I can,” he said.”

“To make the Olympics in skateboarding would be amazing. It is one of my goals.”

To get there, Joel has to successfully navigate a pathway filled with challenges that come in the form of qualifying tournaments across the globe. The equation is simple; do well and Paris awaits.

“You have the Street League, which is a skateboarding contest, which has aligned with World Skate and they organize contests in different parts of the world – France, Japan, Brazil and Italy sometimes. That’s where most of the points are earned and then there are other meets like the OISTU Open in Brazil,” Joel said.

His focus after the Junior Pan Am Games is getting better.

“More contests, more practice, getting better and getting over that fear and it would mean a lot to me,” he said.

“I go by the rule, ‘If it has been done it is achievable and there is always room for growth. The best is yet to come.”

The journey has begun.

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and the Guatemalan Olympic Committee (GOC) recently signed a historic Sports Co-operation Agreement that will see both bodies cooperating in the areas of applied sport sciences, sports medicine, technology, Olympic values, anti-doping, community and recreational sport, as well as sports administration.

The agreement will also facilitate the exchange of athletes and coaches who will benefit from educational and technical programmes.

The agreement was signed during the XXV General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committee (ANOC) in Greece.

JOA President Christopher Samuda declared that the signing of the agreement signifies an abiding commitment from the JOA and GOC to deepen their already strong bi-lateral relationship under which athletes, coaches, administrators and member federations will benefit from initiatives of capacity building and institutional strengthening, in research, training and education, sports-specific skills and the sciences and technology of sport.

President of the Guatemalan Olympic Committee, Gerardo Aguirre, also endorsed the historic partnership in regional sporting history.

"For us, Guatemala's NOC, we identified this as an opportunity to generate a connection with sport and athletes between Jamaica and Guatemala,” he said.

“Jamaica has specific strengths in sport and Guatemala has developed others, making these useful for us all to share. Therefore, this makes the signing of this agreement a marvellous opportunity and from it can come various avenues of activities so that Jamaican and Guatemalan athletes can come together."

Secretary-General and CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Ryan Foster, who announced the agreement between the two Olympic organizations, explained that both Olympic bodies understand that efforts and relationships in sport must first be athlete-centric and dedicated.

 “Then, for stakeholders' engagement and empowerment and this agreement which we have signed is written testimony of that fact and the reality that friendships and unity in sport defy language barriers and the breadth of seas and oceans," he said.

Director of International Affairs of the Guatemalan Olympic Committee, Neville Steins, emphasized the importance and high value of the agreement in the context of bringing “not only our countries together through sport, but more still, bringing together the Caribbean and Central America in eliminating the absence of communication owing to language differences through the use of sport and thus bring our countries' athletes together for the common good."

The JOA's foreign policy supports strong and strategic partnerships in providing enabling opportunities for athletes, coaches and administrators.

 "The JOA will continue to build strong partnerships across borders and continents. We started in December 2017 when we inked in Japan with the Tottori Prefecture Government an agreement which is facilitating collaboration beyond the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as for us sport development and diplomacy go beyond events and are life-changing experiences spanning generations. We will continue in earnest as sport is an enabler, equalizer and unifier" President Samuda said.

Elaine Thompson-Herah has poured cold water on reports that she is leaving MVP Track Club.

She has described those reports as rumours and said she is on a well-deserved break following her record-breaking season during which she became the first woman to successfully defend 100 and 200m titles at the same Olympic Games.

Reports emerged on Thursday that following her outstanding season, Thompson-Herah had taken a decision to leave MVP and going forward will be coached by her husband, Derron Herah.

Late Thursday, the 2021 Diamond League 100m champion appeared on the Brother from Another show on NBC Sports, denouncing the reports.

"I am the fastest woman alive so they are going to create some sort of news to distract the world so it's rumours of course. I have seen articles in the media that I have died before, more than once. There are always rumours in the media, they are always targeting me, I don't know why,” she told hosts, Michael Smith and Michael Holley.

"It's probably because I didn't show up at practice. I am still on my rest period, so maybe they are just speculating why I am not at practice, but I just came back from the international circuit and we normally get like a month's rest and I am in my second week.”

Thompson-Herah set a new Olympic record of 10.61 while defending her Olympic 100m title and 21.53 to win back-to-back titles in the 200m. She won a third gold on Jamaica’s 4x100 relay team. After the Olympics, she ran the fastest series of times in history – 10.54, 10.64, 10.72 and 10.65 –  to close out the season as the only woman to run four wind-legal times faster than 10.70.

 

On the heels of her record-breaking, history-making season Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah is reportedly parting ways with MVP Track Club, just under 18 months after Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce departed to join Elite Performance.

Consolidated Bakeries Jamaica Limited through its Purity Bakery brand is in discussions to formalize a professional relationship with Olympic relay gold medalist and 100m bronze medalist Shericka Jackson.

In the midst of her post-Olympic campaign, Shericka Jackson, who won a bronze medal in the 100m in a Jamaican sweep of the event at the Tokyo Olympics in August and then a gold medal anchoring the 4x100m relay in a new national record of 41.02, was missing home.

On September 3, she tweeted about the things she was missing the most – two curry patties from Devon House, 3 grapefruit ice creams also from Devon House, chocolate, two cheese patties and two Purity Buns.

The tweet generated more than 3000 likes and was retweeted more than 300 times and eventually caught the attention of Purity Bakery, who simply responded “We got you.”

They sure did.

Earlier Monday, less than 48 hours after Jackson returned to Jamaica for the first time since July, Purity delivered on their promise with a package of Purity buns for the Jamaican star but also several palettes of product for members of her community.

“@sherickajacko just touch dung and got her Purity bun and products courtesy of Purity Jamaica,” the company tweeted.

“She also got buns for her community. We love you Shericka and we’re proud of all you did for us on an international scale.”

 Could this be the start of something sweet for Jackson and Purity.

 

 

Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt has advised up and coming USA sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson to focus less on talking and more on training to get better performances on the track.

Bolt has admitted to being a fan of the energy and sassy attitude of the American sprinter, which he believes is good for the sport.  Richardson has in recent times, however, failed to turn that energy into strong performances on the track.

There was plenty of enthusiasm surrounding Richardson earlier this year, following several impressive performances in the months of April and May.  Among them was a 10.72 clocking in Florida, which was at the time the fastest for the season.

Heading into the Olympics, the American cast herself as the one that could bring an end to over a decade of Jamaican dominance of athletics.  Heading into the Games, however, Richardson tested positive for marijuana, was suspended for a month, and missed the event where Jamaica swept all the podium spots in the 100m.

After that, came a much-publicised Diamond League meeting between the American and the Jamaican Olympic medallist, in Eugene, Oregon, which was framed along the lines of being an opportunity for Richardson to show what would have happened had she not been suspended for the Olympics.  Things did not go to plan, however, as she finished in 9th place, with the Jamaicans once again sweeping the top three spots. 

She followed that up with a second-place finish in Italy, and a fourth-place finish, in the 200m, at the Diamond League meet in Brussels.  Off the track, the sprinter was also criticised for what many believed amounted to disrespect for American sprint legend Allyson Felix.  Bolt believes, at this point, the young American needs to refocus.

“I would tell Sha’Carri to train harder and to be focused and not say too much…,” Bolt said in a recent interview with the New York Post.

“If you talk that big talk you have to back it up,” he added.

“So just train hard and focus on that and try to come back, do it and then talk about it.”

Richardson’s performances have split a vocal global track and field fanbase.  Her most ardent fans have continued to express support for the struggling sprinter, but others have expressed disappointment at both her performances and recent outbursts.  Many, particularly supporters of Jamaican track and field, found the American’s massive failure amusing given her pre-race antics, exuberant expression, and what they believe is disregard for their decorated Olympic medallists.

“Jamaicans were vexed because she was talking a lot of s–t before the actual race, it is just one of those things,” Bolt said of Richardson’s lopsided loss in Eugene, where Olympic champion Elaine Thompson clocked 10.54, the second-fastest time ever run over the distance.

 “Jamaicans don’t like when people talk s–t about us because we are a very proud people. So, if you talk about us we are gonna want you to back it up. It definitely gave those women the extra push.”

 

 

Elaine Thompson-Herah, the three-time gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics in Japan in August, is to be rewarded with a Jamaican diplomatic passport, Minister Olivia Grange announced on Wednesday.

Jamaica 100m sprinter Nesta Carter has retired from the sport of athletics on the back of recent struggles with an undisclosed medical condition.

The 35-year-old, who was part of Jamaica’s world record gold-winning 4x100m relay team at the London Olympics, made the announcement, on Tuesday, via social media platform Twitter.

“…I am no longer able to give of my best as an athlete to the sport that I know and love.  As a result, and for other reasons, I am announcing my retirement from track and field and an athlete,” the release read.

“My ultimate decision to retire from athletics was also precipitated by a private medical condition, which has been getting worse.  This condition has hindered me from training and competing since March 2021.  A medication prescribed by my doctor to address this medical issue breaches existing anti-doping rules.  As such, I had to make a choice between my health and athletics, and I chose my health.”

The athlete was also part of Jamaica’s gold medal-winning relay team at the 2008 Olympics, but the medal was stripped after a retrospective test returned a positive sample from Carter.  The athlete was also part of a gold medal-winning relay team at the 2011, 2013, and 2015 World Championships.  Carter claimed an individual bronze medal at the 2013 World Championships and has the eighth fastest time ever recorded over the distance.

Jamaica’s Olympic medalists and their coaches are set for a financial windfall under what the Jamaica Olympic Association has dubbed an ‘Olympic Rewards Programme’ worth J$41 million. The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) contributed $J5m to the programme while Supreme Ventures Foundation and Mayberry Investments, contributed JS30m and J$6m, respectively.

One US dollar is approximately J$155.

The money is to be placed in individual investment accounts at Mayberry Investments for a period of three years or until the athlete’s retirement from track and field, whichever comes first. At the end of the period, the athlete decides whether to cash in their investments or maintain his or her account.

Under the programme, a gold medalist gets J$6 million, a silver medalist gets J$4 million while a bronze medal winner will be rewarded with J$2 million.

A similar amount will be maintained for the relays but for the relay gold medalists, the J$6 million will be shared among members while for the women’s 4x400 metres relay team that placed third, J$2 million will be shared among the members of the squad.

Coaches will also be rewarded for their work. J$1 million will go to a coach whose athlete won a gold medal, $750,000 for the coach whose athlete won a silver medal and $500,000 for the coach whose athlete won a bronze medal.

The rewards programme, JOA President Christopher Samuda said is part of a broader vision of the association.

“For the Jamaica Olympic Association this partnership represents critical aspects of our vision for the future of the business of sport and emphasizes our conviction that the lives of athletes and coaches matter beyond the present,” Samuda said. 

“The Jamaica Olympic Association, Supreme Ventures Limited and Mayberry Investments Limited have come together in an investment trilogy, at the heart of which are Jamaica's athletes and coaches and the strategy of which resides in financial prudence and security.”

Meanwhile, Peter McConnell, Chairman, Supreme Ventures Foundation, praised the athletes for their success. “We are incredibly proud of all athletes who have ever represented Jamaica on the world stage, and we are grateful to have this opportunity to reward this year’s cohort of medalists,” he said.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Christopher Berry, the Executive Chairman of Mayberry Investments Limited.

“Mayberry wishes to congratulate all the athletes that represented us at the Olympics and all of the people who worked so hard to make this national effort yet another success,” he said.

Elaine Thompson won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m  at the Olympic Games while Hansle Parchment won gold in the 100m hurdles. Meanwhile, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won a silver medal in the 100m and a gold medal as a member of the 4x100m team. Shericka Jackson won a bronze medal in the 100m and gold as a member of the 4x100m that also included Briana Williams. Natasha Morrison and Remona Burchell were alternates.

Megan Tapper won a bronze medal in the 100m hurdles.

Jackson, Candice McLeod, Roneisha McGregor, Tovea Jenkins, Junelle Bromfield and Stacy-Ann Williams comprised the 4x400m relay squad.

 

 

A chorus of disgruntled Jamaica track and field fans have turned their ire towards sporting goods manufacturer Nike for what they deem to be disrespect of top-rated women’s sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah.

The athlete’s exploits over the past few weeks have astonished the majority of the track and field world.  A truly dominant performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics saw her not only successfully defend her title in both the 100 and 200m but set the second-fastest times ever recorded over the distance.

For good measure, she added a 4x100m relay gold medal to the mix to leave the game with three medals.  Scrolling through the social media feed of her sponsor @Nike, on both their Twitter and Instagram main feeds, you would never know any of those accomplishments had occurred.

The feed did, however, during the period, congratulate the USA Women’s Basketball team, 800 metre runner Athing Mu and Kenyan long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge who are all sponsored by the brand.

The last straw for many, however, would have been the placement of an ad featuring USA sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson ahead of her return to the track at the Prefontaine Classic last week.  The much-hyped ad featured Nike’s caption ‘No more waiting. Let the @carririchardson_ show begin.’  The race featured both Thompson and compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, another Nike-sponsored athlete and Olympic silver medallist.  Richardson is yet to win a medal and missed out on the chance of doing so at the Olympics after incurring a brief suspension for testing positive for marijuana.

Thompson summarily dismissed Richardson, and the rest of the field for that matter, after winning the race in a mind-blowing 10.54, with Richardson failing to live up to the pre-race hype after finishing in 9th position.  The Jamaican’s time smashed the already impressive 10.62 mark she set at the Olympics and was just 0.5 seconds outside of Florence Griffith Joyner’s long-standing world record.  The irony of the situation was not lost on the Jamaica track fans on social media and they made their feeling known by commenting on the post with the Richardson ad on the company’s IG page.

blkdynamit.snkr

The ppl hype her is she the Olympics double double champion and the fastest female in the world? I thought it was Elaine? ??‍♂️??‍♂️??‍♂️??‍♂️??‍♂️

makonem_theheir

She just got smokedddd.. Not even top 4.?????.. I guess the show got postponed

jovem_rei._

All of this for last place sis?

The company has congratulated Thompson-Herah on its “Nike Running” page, which has 5.7M followers, but not their main @Nike page which has 170M followers.  Some fans have started a campaign to boycott the brand.

Jamaica double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah put away a top-quality field to massively improve an already impressive personal best, at the Prefontaine Classic, Wanda Diamond League meet in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.

Fresh off an impressive triumph at the Tokyo Games, Thompson-Herah was in no mood to slow down, and in fact, went considerably faster.  The Jamaican pulled away from compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the final metres of the race to stop the clock at 10.54, just .05 second outside of the world record set by the United States' Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988.

In almost identical fashion to Tokyo, Fraser-Pryce was second in 10.73, with Shericka Jackson third in 10.76.

Prior to the race, a lot of the attention was focussed on the return of flamboyant United States sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson who missed out on a match-up with the Jamaica trio at the Olympics, after serving a brief suspension for testing positive for marijuana. 

Expectations had been heightened for the sprinter’s return after emphatically winning the US trials before the Games.  In Eugene, however, she was nowhere to be found.  Richardson got away slowly and never got into the race, ending at the back of the field in a pedestrian 11.14.  Thompson-Herah now has the two fastest times outside of the longstanding world record set by Griffith-Joyner.

 

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