It’s not an easy road

Jamaica Gleaner - - RURAL EXPRESS - Ta­mara Bai­ley Gleaner Writer ru­ral@glean­erjm.com

Elaine Thomp­son (cen­tre) flanked by mem­bers of the Manch­ester High School track team also present is Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Peter Bunting.

Thomp­son

MAN­DEV­ILLE, Manch­ester: THE SUN was ex­tremely hot and um­brel­las and books be­came the main source of shade for the stu­dents of Manch­ester High School who waited for the ar­rival of their beloved alum­nus, dou­ble Olympic gold medal­list, Elaine Thomp­son, last Fri­day.

But the ex­cite­ment that filled the air sup­pressed the feel­ings of ex­haus­tion from the heat, as upon her ar­rival, the hands that held the books and um­brel­las ap­plauded the cham­pion.

As she graced the stage, her pres­ence was felt and ev­ery young ath­lete and as­pir­ing high achiever felt they were on holy ground.

“I re­mem­ber eight years ago I was here stand­ing, wit­ness­ing Nesta Carter and other ath­letes, and to be here to­day, it’s a won­der­ful feel­ing and it’s a plea­sure,” Thomp­son told the gath­er­ing.“To be a 100 me­tres and 200 me­tres dou­ble Olympic gold medal­list, I stand here to rep­re­sent my­self, my coun­try and you guys, and it’s very ful­fill­ing,” she added.

Pro­cess­ing ev­ery word ut­tered, the stu­dents yelled, “Nooooo” when Thomp­son said she would shorten her speech to re­duce their time in the sun.

IM­POR­TANCE OF WORK­ING HARD

As she con­tin­ued her pre­sen­ta­tion, she em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of work­ing hard to achieve a goal.

“To be an ath­lete, it’s not an easy road, it’s a long jour­ney and you have to make a lot of sac­ri­fices. But those sac­ri­fices that I made, made me who I am to­day. Had it not been for that hard work, sac­ri­fice and de­ter­mi­na­tion, I couldn’t be stand­ing here giv­ing you ad­vice on how to be an up­lift­ing cham­pion in all ar­eas of your life; whether in school­work or on the track, it doesn’t mat­ter, but there must be a bal­ance,” said Thomp­son.

She con­tin­ued: “I want you to re­mem­ber four things, hard work, ded­i­ca­tion, be­liev­ing in your­self and stay­ing fo­cused.”

These are the four pil­lars that Thomp­son has built her ca­reer on and con­tin­ues to.

In ac­knowl­edge­ment of her ath­letic prow­ess, one Manch­ester High stu­dent praised her as a true cham­pion and a tremen­dous ath­lete. “You went to the Olympics and de­servedly earned both the 100 and 200 me­tre ti­tles. You have paved the way for ath­letes and we thank you.”

Thomp­son has not only brought hope to young ath­letes and stu­dents of her alma mater, but she has made her fam­ily and com­mu­nity mem­bers in Ba­nana Ground proud.

It is as a re­sult of this why she has fur­ther pub­licly hon­oured in her home town with the nam­ing of a road­way called the Elaine Thomp­son Close.

PHOTO BY TA­MARA BAI­LEY

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