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Olympic champion status drives McLeod to greater things

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sprint hurdler Omar McLeod is embracing his Olympic Games champion status and says it will encourage him to “go beyond my limits” as he seeks to add to his growing list of accomplishments.

McLeod, who won both the IAAF World Indoor and Olympics gold medal in a successful 2016 season, opens his IAAF Diamond League account in Shanghai, China, says wearing the 'bulls eye' on his back does not bother him.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer recently, McLeod said: “The thing about being an Olympic Champion is that it sets you apart, and with that title comes great responsibility and not to mention greater expectations.

“And in all honesty, it only makes me want to get better as an athlete, maintain that status, and go beyond my limits. Also what I love is the fact that there's literally no room for complacency due to the fact that everybody is training to beat you and I do not want to be dethroned or even lose a race,” he said.

So far McLeod, who had the fastest time in the world last year 12.9 seconds set in Shanghai, leads the rankings so far this year after he opened with 13.04 seconds at the Drake Relays two weeks ago.

Despite his great form, McLeod has not set a time table for when he will go after the Jamaican National Record of 12.94 seconds held by Hansle Parchment.

“Again, I am just running to have fun and compete hard. When I do that, fast times always follow. So let's just see what my destiny looks like for this season,” he noted.

With Usain Bolt, the double World Record holder and face of track and field set to retire from the sport this year, the race is on to see who will take over the crown, but McLeod as fast as his feet are, is not putting himself at the start line for that race.

“There are a lot of athletes currently waiting in line to keep the legacy going, no one can replace Usain Bolt and his accomplishments obviously, but what we can do is be our own light and try our very best to keep the flag flying high.”