Dominique Blake returns from ban
Quarter-miler Dominique Blake’s four-year suspension is over and the talented athlete says she will return to the track mentally stronger.
The Jamaican Blake, 29, was initially suspended by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) for six years in 2012 for consuming the banned stimulant methylhexanamine at the National Senior Championship.
But she successfully appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and in May 2014 had her ban reduced to four years. She maintains her innocence, saying she was not trying to enhance performance.
“I feel blessed and excited. January the first marked the end of the suspension and I can’t wait to start competing again. My team and I only have positive energy and thoughts moving forward,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
“I believe the universe’s plan is larger than mine. I was able to accomplish so much during my time away from the sport. I have an amazing new outlook on sports, business and ultimately what it truly means to commit and serve during the time we’re given,” said Blake.
“It is very important to me to simultaneously help as many other people as possible with the platform I’ve been given as a professional athlete, while also making my country proud. In short, I could not be feeling better or more excited for my return,” she reiterated.
Blake, who has a personal best of 51.72 second in the 400m, was a part of Jamaica’s bronze medal 4x400 relay at the 2012 London Olympics.
“For me, the four years came and went. All I needed to know was the absolute bottom-line, what would my return date be? As soon as my suspension time was reduced and I knew I could hit the track again as of January 1, 2017, nothing else mattered,” said Blake.
“I’m not a grey area kind of person. Things are either black or white for me. Once I had my new eligibility date, my focus went to 2017. To that end, I would like to publicly thank the Court of Arbitration for Sport for allowing me to present my case and for reiterating in its decision that I was never deemed a cheater of the sport and also its ultimate decision to reduce my initial sanction handed down by JAAA,” Blake explained.
“My mental toughness has certainly kicked up a few notches over the past four years. My thought process was all about increasing value to myself as a human being, athlete, and entrepreneur. I realised that track and field is an extension of life and all the same rules apply to achieving any type of success. Doing everything necessary to triumph in life became the only thing I concerned myself with. Above all, over the past four years I have learned the value in service and an overall commitment to excellence,” she added.
Now on her return, Blake will be taking it one day at a time in terms of her ambitions for the season on the track and will be balancing that with her ambitions off the track.
“I’m excited and also looking forward to being in London for the 2017 outdoor World Championships. The goal is to do my very best this indoor season and allow that momentum to propel us into a successful outdoor season,” said Blake.
With a major in Communications at Penn State University, Blake has been busy with her business adventures with her parent company DVB Group.
”My plan is to take each day as it comes and to be prepared for anything I might face, to be as consistent and diligent as possible every single day,” she told the Observer.
“People often think success happens overnight. There is no such thing as an overnight success,” she noted.
“I’m also looking forward to balancing my entrepreneurial passions along with my passion for competition and sport. My umbrella company is The DVB Group. The DVB group houses all my projects and business ventures focused on incredible service,” said Blake.
She continued: “I feel it is important that athletes realise their platform, how important their voice is, and acknowledge their influence on society. I’m blessed and grateful to have a phenomenal team that allows me to be creative and give my all at whatever task is at hand”.
Blake has been training at Fayetteville, Arkansas at the University of Arkansas with former college coach, Chris Johnson and she revealed it has been going well.
“I’m able to always trust him and our vision we create each year. Coach Johnson has the amazing ability to bring out the best in his athletes during training and competition. He is absolutely like a second dad to me and I value our coach/athlete relationship more than anything. I never have to second-guess or doubt his honesty. When he tells me, we’re ready, there’s never a doubt in my mind,” Blake pointed out.
With the 400m getting more competitive locally, Blake is not worrying too much about making the national team.
“I’ve never been one to focus on outside influences. The fact is, once you put the work in, focus on your goals, your turn has to be presented. I’m not here to relinquish my power to anyone or take my eye off the prize,” said a confident Blake.
“As track and field athletes, we don’t work this hard to stay home or bow down. I show up every day to practice knowing I’m here to give my absolute best. If I die in the process, I’ll come back to life eventually and have the opportunity to recover, do it again, and get it done! It’s tough to defeat someone with that mentality,” she pointed out.
“All true quarter-milers accept that principle daily with our buddies — good old lactic acid and fatigue. But, in all seriousness, preparation is key and a process not even the greatest can skip. Right now, it’s all about the process. We have a long season ahead of us and we plan to show up prepared to execute one round at a time to make our way to London,” said Blake.