PRELUDE TO OLYMPICS 2020- JAPAN

 

Summer Olympics 2020, is Jul 24 – Aug 9, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. All Olympic hopefuls are expected to compete. Competing in this event is required. If you own a bag with Track shoes, athletic equipment inside, been hibernating in 2017, 2018, and 2019; year-end 2019 is the time to wake up. Get ready, on your mark, set, and Go. Wake the World and tell the People.

I am expecting significant improvement in Jamaican Track and Field performance. Significant improvement, since World Championships 2017, Commonwealth Games 2018, NACAC Championships 2018, and Doha 2019. Tongue in cheek, any performance not indicative of maintenance or improvement will raise the Ire of Jamaican Track and Field fans, prompting sentiments of disappointment.

Track and Field is the ultimate excitement in Athletics but the athlete must be in Athletic shape. Let us look at how some athletes are performing and positioning for Summer Olympics 2020, to date.

FEMALE: Natoya Goule, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Remona Burchell, Gayon Evans, Elaine Thompson, Stephanie-Ann McPherson, Aisha Praught – Leer, Rushell Burton, Jeanine Williams, Danielle Williams, Shanieka Rickets, Kimberly Williams, Danniel Thomas-Dodd, Tiffany James, and Anastasia Leroy.

Natoya Goule is a star. Despite finishing sixth in Doha 2019, I anticipate improvement and a good performance in the 800 Meters. The competition will be fierce but she has the ability to earn a medal. It is refreshing to see an athlete step away and establish a new frontier.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce continues to do well in Jamaican Female Track and Field. I wish her well in 2020. Her performances look good. She had a wonderful outing in Doha 2019. We all hoped she was victorious in the 2016 Olympics in winning the Women’s 100M a third consecutive time but that did not happen.

It appears some athletes are waiting to peak in spring 2020. That could be a bad strategy. One should be taking a break in spring 2020 and work on the mental or psychological. Coming into summer fresh and hungry like the Wolf is a better strategy.

Remona Burchell has potential that could surface in Olympics 2020. Based on her accolades I expect competitive performance. Her challenge is can she run faster than 11.03 seconds for the 100M. Her 200M performance of 23.92 is hopeful.

Gayon Evans has potential specifically in the 200M. Perhaps she should focus on that event. 23.18 seconds is a good time. If she can run faster than 23.0, she will be a contender.

Elaine Thompson has proven that she is excellent athlete. She will always be a force to reckon with as long as she is in good health. Not a good outing in Doha 2019 but she will bounce back. Her performance in Rio 2016 was exceptional. She is one of the few Female athletes who can run the 100M with regularity, in less than 11.00 seconds. She has also proven that she can run the 200M in less than 22.00 seconds. Overall, I expect her to perform well in Olympics 2020. No athlete is winning the Women’s 100M in 2020 unless she runs the distance in less than 11.0 seconds.

Stephanie-Ann McPherson is still near the top of the 400M runners list. This might be her final quest for Olympic stardom.

Aisha Praught-Leer should improve on her 2018 Commonwealth Games accomplishments. I expect strong performances in all or whichever event she decides to run.

Rushell Burton will continue to improve in 100M Hurdles. I expect her to be competitive.

Jeanine Williams will be a force to reckon with in the hurdles. She should focus on that event. The 100 meter will be a challenge. There is a possibility she might earn a spot on the 4×100 meter relay team. She is the epitome of a Student Athlete.

Danielle Williams is also a force to reckon with in the hurdles. She had great performances in the Diamond League in 2019 and an exceptional performance in Doha.

Shanieka Rickets should do well in the Triple Jump. I expect improvement since the North American, Central American, Caribbean Championships, and Doha 2019.

 Kimberly Williams is an excellent Triple Jump athlete. However, the Olympics and World Championships have not seen her best performances. Perhaps, 2020 will be the year. The fans certainly hope so.

Danniel Thomas-Dodd is ready to take her performance to another level. I expect improvement since 2018 Commonwealth Games. The competition will be fierce but I think she can win. Her performance in Doha 2019 is setting the stage.

Tiffany James should be ready to step away from the shadows of relay competition. It would be interesting to see if she can handle performing as an individual in the 400M. Performance at the junior level is recognized but the Olympics stage is more challenging.

Anastasia Leroy has exhibited solid performances and has additional potential that should be realized in Olympics 2020. For Anastasia the time is now and I anticipate a strong performance. Despite finishing sixth in Doha 2019, there is still time to atone and be ready for Olympics 2020.

MALE: Yohan Blake, Everton Clarke, Omar McLeod, Javon Francis, Steven Gayle, Tajay Gayle, Ronald Levy, Demar Forbes, Clive Pullen, O’Dayne Richards, Andre Clarke, Jermaine Gayle, and Rusheen McDonald.

Yohan Blake did not have a good outing in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. His performance in Doha 2019 did not meet expectations. Olympics 2020 is definitely time for Yohan Blake to perform at his best in the 100M and 200M. The stage is set for Yohan to have solid performances. However, there is only so much continuous running in the legs of a Professional sprinter. At some point between Training and competing, the body gets tired even if the brain does not. Yohan Blake might be approaching that point. I think he participates in the 2020 Olympics and then retire. Suffice to say, no athlete is winning the Men’s 100M in 2020 unless he runs the distance in less than 10.0 seconds.

Everton Clarke with a Personal Best of 10.08 for the 100M and 20.45 for the 200M should see Olympics 2020 as a venue to achieve. I hope he makes the Team. His Men’s 4 × 100 meters relay participation in the 2018 Commonwealth Games was strong. Olympics 2020 will make or break the career of many athletes. That is true for both Male and Female. Everton Clarke is one of those athletes. Apparently not selected for Doha 2019 but I still have hope he will make it to Olympics 2020.

I am not a fan of World Championships. Heads up the Africans are getting better but Coaching in Jamaica is improving and very conscious of the need for Resources. South East Asia including the Philippines will be there.

Omar McLeod continues to impress. His performances have created renewed interest in the 110M Hurdles. The 110M Hurdles is an event in which Jamaican Athletes should excel. Doha 2019 was a defeat but there is still time for Omar to bounce back. Until Omar is defeated at the Olympics, he owns that event. He was the first from Jamaica to win the event on that stage but he knows there will be others. For now, let him enjoy the fame and fortune. It is time to get ready for Olympics 2020. I am 100 percent behind him and support his consideration of the 400M Hurdles.

Javon Francis appears to be staying in shape. Staying in shape will prevent a repeat of this kind of performance. Will 2020 be the year he talks to the man in the mirror? Will 2020 be the year he rebounds?

Steven Gayle showed promise in 2017 but in 2018, he appeared to falter. Perhaps, there was something lacking in his training regiment. I hope the matter is resolved and he will return rejuvenated.

Tajay Gayle looks exceptional at the Long Jump. 2020 Olympics, is definitely the year for him to demonstrate his talent. He looked good in Doha 2019.

Ronald Levy is the Athlete with the best potential to challenge Omar McLeod. He has excellent technique and speed. He is at his prime for the 110M Hurdles. The 2020 Olympics, is definitely the year for him to demonstrate he is a superior athlete in that event.

Demar Forbes if still active should be competitive in the Long Jump. The 2020 Olympics, is definitely the year for him to demonstrate his capability in that event.

Clive Pullen if still active should be competitive in the Triple Jump (Hop Skip and Jump).

O’Dayne Richards should be competitive in the shot put and discus throw. He should be able to give a good account of himself in both events. Along with Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle, the Men’s Field events squad should Medal at Olympics 2020. If Doha is an indication, I expect Hardware.

Andre Clarke if still active should be competitive in the 400M Hurdles. Regardless of any performances I have not seen, this event is up for grabs at Olympics 2020. Anyone from anywhere can win.

Jermaine Gayle still has time to come in from the cold. Excellent performance in the 400M event will require men who will consistently run between 43.01 and 44.5 and women who will consistently run between 48.0 and 49.4. This is a serious challenge. The 400M race is the most exhausting of the sprints.

Rusheen McDonald should be competitive in the 400M sprint. Regardless of any performances I have not seen, if he improves on his Personal Best of 43.93 he should make the Team.

Team Jamaica Men grade by Event and expectations at Olympics 2020:

Men:

Event     Analysis                                        Grade

100 M – Need Improvement –                       C

200 M – Need Improvement –                       C

400 M – Need Improvement –                       C

800 M – Need much Improvement –             D

1500 M– Need much Improvement –            D

Long Jump – Excellent –                               B

Triple Jump – Need much Improvement – D

High Jump – Need much Improvement –      F

Hurdles 110 M – Excellent –              A+

Hurdles 400 M – Excellent –              A

Discus – Excellent –                                       A+

Shot Put – Good –                                          B

Javelin – Need much Improvement –            F

Pole Vault – Need much Improvement –       F

4 × 100 meters relay – Need Improvement – C

4 × 400 meters relay – Need Improvement – C

Team Jamaica Women grade by Event and expectations at Olympics 2020:

Women:

Event     Analysis                                            Grade

100 M – Excellent –                                            B

200 M – Need Improvement –                          C

400 M – Need Improvement –                           B

800 M – Excellent   –                                            A

1500 M – Need much Improvement –              D

Long Jump – Need Improvement –                   B

Triple Jump – Excellent –                                     A+

High Jump – Need much Improvement      –        F

Hurdles 100 M – Excellent –                                   A+

Hurdles 400 M – Excellent –                                    A

Discus – Need much Improvement –                   C

Shot Put – Need Improvement –                            B

Javelin – Need much Improvement   –                   F

4 × 100 meters relayExcellent –                         A+

4 × 400 meters relay – Excellent –                          A+

 

Team Jamaica is looking good leading up to Olympics 2020. However, there is much work to be done. Women are doing better than Men. Field events have new Life. Team Jamaica Track and Field landscape is poised for a changing of the Guard, after Olympics 2020.

LFT

Telegram Today

TAKE AWAY FROM COMMONWEALTH GAMES 2018 – AUSTRALIA

Gold-silver-Discus-640x353

It seems to me, that Jamaicans should be proud of the performance. The team placed 11TH out of 43 teams with 27 Medals in total – 7 Gold, 9 Silver, and 11 Bronze. See the Final performance results. Not too shabby for an Island Nation.

Previously I said, “I am expecting improvement in the Field events such as Long Jump, Triple Jump (Hop, Skip, and Jump), Javelin, Discus, Shot Put, Hammer throw, and High Jump.” Oops, it happened.

Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle won gold and silver respectively for Jamaica in the men’s discus. Kimberly Williams won gold in the Triple Jump. Shanieka Ricketts won silver in the Triple Jump. Danniel Thomas-Dodd won gold in the Women’s Shot Put. Aisha Praught-Leer won gold in Women’s 3000 meters steeplechase. Alia Atkinson won silver in the 50 meters breaststroke. The Net Ball team won Bronze.

Clearly significant improvement in Field events, since World Championship 2017. I am impressed with the wealth of Talent on the Female side of the Jamaican Track and Field Ledger. Perhaps, that will get the Male athletes to step up. Very soon, I expect the Men to step forward with stellar performance in Field events.

The Hurdles event has caught on. Ronald Levy won gold in the 110M hurdles. Janieve Russell won gold in the 400M hurdles. Hansle Parchment won silver in the 110M hurdles. Danielle Williams won silver in the Women’s 100 meters hurdles. Jaheel Hyde won bronze in the Men’s 400 meters hurdles. Yanique Thompson won bronze in the Women’s 100 meters hurdles. My expectation is that it will require less effort to improve the performance in Hurdling than it will for additional improvement in Field events. I am wondering who will start throwing the Javelin – someone, anyone, Male or Female. It is a unisex sport.

Shericka Jackson continues to shine and won silver in the Women’s 200 meters. Anastasia Le-Roy won silver in the Women’s 400 meters. Christania Williams won silver in the Women’s 100 meters. Gayon Evans won bronze in the Women’s 100 meters. Javon Francis won bronze in the Men’s 400 meters. Natoya Goule won bronze in the Women’s 800 meters. Natoya Goule is someone to keep an eye on moving forward. Yohan Blake won bronze in the Men’s 100 meters. Women’s 4 × 100 meters relay quartet won silver. Men’s 4 × 100 meters relay won bronze. Men’s 4 × 400 meters relay won bronze. Women’s 4 × 400 meters relay won gold.

That Yohan Blake won bronze in the Men’s 100 meters and Elaine Thompson did not have a good outing by her standards, is cause for concern. There is only so much continuous running in the legs of a Professional sprinter. Yohan Blake might be approaching that point. I think he participates in the 2020 Olympics and then retire. It might be a good idea for Elaine Thompson to switch camp and work with Glen Mills.

The people responsible for training the Women’s 4 × 400 meters relay team is doing a great job. Over the years that quartet, mix or match, has been competitive or dominant. Perhaps, they should be commissioned to recruit Male athletes to run the 400M exclusively. The 400M race needs new stars. Until there is discovery, nurturing, and development of at least three (3) consistent 400M sprinters, lack of significant representation in the Men’s 400M race will be obvious. Excellent performance in the 400M event will require men who will consistently run between 43.01 and 44.5 and women who will consistently run between 48.0 and 49.4. This is a serious challenge. The 400M race is the most exhausting of the sprints.

Having said the above, what are my expectations for the Olympics in 2020? I have none now. It is too early to speculate. I am confident they will take home some Hardware from Olympics 2020.The results from Commonwealth Games 2018 are impressive. Congrats to the entire team!!!

Performance in the Diamond League will determine Olympic 2020 readiness. I think there will be a changing of the Guard in the Sprint events. There is unlikely to be replacements for Usain and Shelly-Ann by 2020. If you considered Usain – Yohan and Elaine- Shelly-Ann One-Two punches, until proven otherwise I have not seen that male or female athlete. I have not seen another Male athlete capable of running sub 10.0 seconds or a Female athlete capable of running sub 11.0 seconds for the 100M. Yohan Blake and Elaine Thompson have demonstrated they can. However, based on recent performances, they are required to prove they still can.

Warning: no one is winning the Men’s 100M in 2020 unless he runs sub 10.0 seconds. No one is winning the Women’s 100M in 2020 unless she runs sub 11.0 seconds. You can put that in the Retirement Fund.

LFT

JAMAICANFLAG WAVING

Farewell Shelly Ann and Usain

FAREWELL SHELLY

They came, they saw, and conquered. They performed victoriously, hugged competitors, shook hands, and prepared for more challenges. Despite apparent dominance, they remained respectful and conducted themselves as class citizens of the world Athletic community.

Such was the behavior of Usain St. Leo Bolt and Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce between the years 2008 and 2017. 2008 through 2017 was a period in which the best athletes on the planet participated in three Olympics and three World Track and Field Championships. Shelly Ann and Usain performed at an extremely high level, displaying their talents and making their Island Nation proud. Now that the end has arrived for Shelly Ann, and is near for Usain, let us reflect and give thanks to God that we witnessed many wonderful Athletic performances by both persons.

Parting is such sweet sorrow but as fans of Usain and Shelly Ann, we should feel no sorrow as they leave the performing stage. Both gave us many thrills between 2008 and 2017. Let us all commemorate their incomparable achievement accordingly.

Usain Bolt made me a modern day Prophet. In 2006, I had a disagreement with a professional associate that almost turned into a major argument. This person and I disagreed about the potential, capabilities, and abilities of the Jamaican Track and Field athlete. I said that if the Jamaican Track and Field athletes obtained the resources available to those of other Nations they would be the fastest on the planet. By Resources, I meant modern Equipment and Nutrition. That comment was not well- received by the witnesses to that discussion.

Words cannot explain how I felt at the conclusion of the Olympics in 2008. Usain Bolt accomplishments in the last three Olympics are best summarized accordingly. In 2008, it was good morning. In 2012, it was good afternoon. In 2016, it was good night. I am certain that the individual with whom I had the disagreement witnessed the events and truth to my claim. To Usain Bolt I proudly say, thank you.

While the modernization of Jamaican Track and Field began with Donald Quarrie in the 1976 Olympics, Usain and Shelly Ann has taken that effort to another level.

Shelly Ann has given an excellent account of herself. Winning the 100M in successive Olympics – 2008 and 2012, is exceptional accomplishment. While I am certain that Usain three-peat will not happen again, it is doubtful or I have yet to see the female athlete who can match the accomplishment of Shelly Ann. However, there is a chance that Elaine Thompson could do just that. Therefore, it is probably best to say that in the Male arena repeat wins in successive Olympics will not reoccur but I can see it happening in Female competition. What if as a continuation of my proclamation about the Jamaican athlete in 2006, it is destined that a Female athlete will win the 100M and 200M in three successive Olympics. WOW! That would be something.

Usain Bolt and Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce provided inspiration to their teammates and Island Nation. Track and Field in Jamaica has attained new heights. The sport and its participants are well respected by the world. Phrases like, “the great sprinting nation”, and “sprint Capital of the world” is echoed around the Globe. Athletes from all parts of the Globe will descend on the Island Nation to train and prepare themselves to compete in the Olympics and World Championships. A prime example is Wade Van Niekerk. Wade went to Jamaica and added sprinting to his running. Has it paid off? Yes, it has, look at the 400M record of 43.03 for the proof. The Olympics 400M race is not a Dash anymore it is a Sprint. My prediction is that by 2020 Jamaican Athletes will be running sub 45.0 for the 400M event.

Usain and Shelly Ann provided inspiration to aspiring Track stars in Jamaica. Their mission should they choose to accept is Run at a high level. The 100M, 200M, 110M hurdles, 400M, 400M Hurdles, and 800M races are now sprints. Performances at the Olympics and World Championships in whichever event chosen by aspiring Track stars should mirror the accomplishments of Usain and Shelly Ann to continue the legacy. I am impressed with the wealth of Talent on the Female side of the Jamaican Track and Field Ledger. Perhaps, that will get the Male athletes to step up.

In 2020, there could be a drop in the level of individual performance on the Track but the Quartets Male and Female should remain strong. I expect to see the Men 4 x 400-relay team step up and give a better account. I am expecting improvement in the Field events such as Long Jump, Triple Jump (Hop, Skip, and Jump), Javelin, Discus, Shot Put, Hammer throw, and High Jump. New names will emerge and I am certain that recruited or not there will be individuals seeking to continue the legacy. Usain Bolt and Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce did their part. It is time for both to move forward and pursue other interests.

Farewell Shelly Ann. I wish you success in Family Life and Parenting. I wish you the same success in business as you enjoyed in Track and Field. I imagine you will be doing speaking engagements, and participating in promotional and Civic activities. I can see you as a future Prime Minister. Should you choose that path; Politicians should receive you with open arms. I believe that by the time your Political ideas come to the forefront, the current crop of Politicians will be ready to retire and as such, people will embrace your participation. You were a stellar ambassador and name recognition will be automatic.  During your reign as a Super Star, you may not have received the ink or interviews you deserved but despite that, your popularity remained in tact. Thank you for all you did for the Sport. Track and Field fans wish you the best in your endeavors. God is watching you from a distance.

Farewell Usain but stay close to the Stadium. Be accessible to the teenagers particularly those of your former High School. There are many who are inspired to follow your example. They will need your attention, nurturing, and exhortation. At the very least, channel these youngsters Male and Female to Glen Mills. Volunteer some time to your former coach to assist in the development of future champions. That effort should be easier than adhering to a Training regiment.

My challenge to you in Retirement is to be a part of the discovery, nurturing, and development of at least three (3) consistent 400M sprinters. Lack of significant excellent representation in the 400M race is obvious. Excellent performance in the 400M event will require men who will consistently run between 43.01 and 44.5. It will require women who will consistently run between 48.0 and 49.4. This will be a serious challenge because the 400M is, as you will agree, the most exhausting of the sprints.

As an individual, you can be a voice nationally and internationally. Do not be afraid to be Capitalistic and be cautious with whom you do Business. Respect your inner circle. Trust but verify. Thank you for all you did for the Sport. Track and Field fans wish you the best in your endeavors. Thanks to you and Shelly, Track and field in Jamaica is coming in from the cold. God is watching you from a distance. Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

LFT

FAREWELL USAIN   FAREWELL SHELLY AND USAIN