VIDEO: Jamaican Aleen Bailey enjoys coaching track at Cane Bay High in South Carolina

VIDEO: Jamaican Aleen Bailey enjoys coaching track at Cane Bay High in South Carolina

By Howard Walker
Senior staff reporter

Friday, July 17, 2020

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Jamaica's 2004 Olympic sprint relay gold medallist Aleen Bailey has stayed close to her sport in her role as coach at Cane Bay High School in South Carolina.

Bailey, who will be 40 years old in November, retired from the sport in 2017, following injury and is now working as a library assistant and coach at Cane Bay.

“I got hired at the school in January and started coaching in January, but I have been volunteer coach for about five years now,” Bailey revealed to the Jamaica Observer.

“Coaching has been going good and I am enjoying it. The kids that I have are eager to learn and I love that,” said the former Vere Technical High School star.

Bailey, who is the sister of dancehall rootsman Capleton, had a stellar high school and national junior career, winning a number of regional titles, including triple gold at the Under-17 Central America and the Caribbean (CAC) Games capturing the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m.

Throughout her junior career she garnered over 20 medals, including 14 gold at the Carifta, CAC, and World Junior Championships.

She transitioned into a wonderful senior athlete and helped to bring Jamaica to the fore, winning a number of relay gold medals. Her best individual performance was finishing second at the World Athletics Final in 2004 in the 100m and bronze in the 200m.

With a best time of 11.04 and 22.33, Bailey had an outstanding collegiate career for the University of South Carolina where she captured the NCAA sprint double winning gold in the 100m and 200m.

Bailey never saw herself coaching, but fate had set a path for her.

“No, I didn't see myself coaching while I was competing, because I was volunteering coaching college kids and their work ethics was not up to par and I was like, 'I don't have the patience with people who won't listen and do the things correctly,' and then when they don't do well they blame the coach and I didn't want to be in that situation. But you get placed where you supposed to be and I am enjoying it,” said Bailey.

In 2004, Jamaica won its first ever women's 4x100 relay gold at the Olympics and Bailey was a part of that historic moment running the third leg of the quartet comprising Tayna Lawrence, Sherone Simpson, and Veronica Campbell striking gold in 41.67.

“My greatest moment would be the 2004 Olympics. We won the first relay gold medal for Jamaica. The unity that the team had and the love for each other [was above all]. The fact that Merlene Ottey was there, the fact that I got to compete with her at an Olympic Games, so it was just an amazing experience [and] something I will remember for a very long time,” Bailey pointed out.

Bailey also won 4x100 gold at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin following silver in 2005 and bronze in 1999 and was a part of Jamaica's relay pool at the 2008 Olympics.

“I decided to retire at the end of 2017; I tore my hamstring 2016 and the recovery wasn't going well, so I just hang it up, but I do miss it. I miss the competition, I miss the travel and hanging out with my teammates,” said Bailey.

At the age of 37, Bailey called time on her career and is now enjoying the sport of golf, and is currently training for her second half marathon coming up in December. Her first was last December.

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