Olympic gold but still hungry for more

Friday 30th September 2016

In my opinion, one of the key attributes that distinguishes the top athletes from the rest is the hunger and desire to always want to achieve more. I have finished my 2016 season with an Olympic gold medal, something that every athlete dreams of and is commonly accepted as the pinnacle of our sport. However, for me, due to the standards and expectations I set for myself it is a season that will be classified in the unfulfilled section.

After wintering well I ran my first 100m race at the Jamaican Invitational. If I am honest I even surprised myself with how I ran here but it was the perfect start, winning the race in 10.01 seconds. At this point it wasn’t a case of if I could break my personal best, the only question was by how much.

I returned to training determined to keep working hard and following the programme Coach had set for me. Shortly after though I knew something wasn’t right. I had pain in my body. I am used to being in pain, when you are constantly pushing yourself further than you have before it is a normal by-product that your body takes time to adapt. But this was different. I wasn’t recovering, had aches in my joints, I felt heavy and sluggish with low energy levels. Then I developed a rash on my skin.

After consultation with the doctor they confirmed that I had contracted the zica virus. Zica was a big headline in the news as there was concerns about the virus to the athletes in Rio, but I had got it before and now my whole season was in jeopardy.

Overcoming adversity is another trait that an athlete must possess, and so I did as I was told to overcome zica, and also tried to remain positive in my mind that the season was not over.

Ultimately, I was proud that I got myself to the start line of the Jamaican Championships and made my way through the rounds to the final. With the standard of Jamaican sprinting so high the final at the National Championships is reminiscent of an Olympic final itself. I finished fifth in the 100m, not enough for an individual birth but enough for a spot on the relay team.

In Rio I ran the heat of the 4x100m as our squad once again dominated the event to bring home the gold medal. Although obviously proud to represent my country and be a part of our success, the season as a whole was not the one I had envisaged.

I am not perturbed, and am experienced enough now to know that the journey to the top is never a smooth one. I have the belief in my ability and know that when it is time for my opportunity, I will be ready to take it. I have spent a lot of time in London over the last few years and it has always treated me well. I will head in to next season with the goal of making it a very special place for me forever.

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