Every disappointment is for good
Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson smiles after receiving her gold medal for winning the women’s 200m final during the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, on Thursday, July 21, 2022. (Photo: Collin Reid courtesy of Courts Ready Cash, Sports Development Foundation and Jamaica Tourist Board)

Jamaicans watching on TV groaned long and hard a year ago when Ms Shericka Jackson eased up too much in the heats of the 200 metres at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Ms Jackson paid a heavy price, missing out on the 200 metres final and a seemingly certain medal to go with her 100m bronze.

For most Jamaicans back then, disappointment turned to joy when the fabulous Mrs Elaine Thompson-Herah clocked a national record, 21.53 seconds, to win the 200m gold medal and complete a historic Olympic sprint double.

For Ms Jackson, the pain was intense. Yet, those who succeed at the highest level of sport, rising before dawn for training, pushing their bodies to the very limit are not weaklings. It is their tremendous mental strength separate and apart from physical capacity and support systems which keeps them going.

And, as we have heard time and again from our top athletes at the ongoing World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, mishaps and disappointments actually motivate them to come again, determined to improve.

We are hearing that message yet again from Ms Jackson following her sensational gold-medal run in the 200 metres final in Eugene on Thursday night.

Just in case the reader missed it, her 21.45 seconds is the fastest since the late American Mrs Florence Griffith-Joyner set the then unthinkable world record of 21.34 seconds at the Olympic Games in South Korea 33 years ago.

Miss Jackson tells us that "after the Olympic Games I cried so hard and so much because I wanted to be in that 200m final ..."

But, says she, "That setback [in Tokyo] taught me ... that no matter what, just keep going ... I guess this is the moment and last year was preparing me ..."

And as we are reminded by Ms Jackson's close friend, the living legend, 35 year-old Mrs Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who followed up her sublime 100m gold medal with the silver on Thursday night: "A lot of persons allow disappointments to kind of just throw them off completely and they never bounce back, so to be able to bounce back after having a disappointment is really remarkable and it is something that you can take for your own self ..."

For that reason, this newspaper is not worried about Mrs Thompson-Herah, who is obviously far from her best, despite her bronze medal run in the 100-metres final. When it comes to rebounding from disappointment she has done that time and again to earn spectacular success. We are confident she will do it again.

In the background always, often unseen, are the coaches and other support staff, often missed when performances are analysed from A to Z.

We are reminded of this by 400-metre hurdler Ms Rushell Clayton who our reporter in Eugene, Mr Paul Reid, tells us, has shown consistent improvement this season.

Asked what has contributed to this, Ms Clayton said: "You would have to ask coach (Reynaldo) Walcott, he is the one who has guided everything that I do, along with my prayers and hard work."

When the red carpet and rewards are rolled out to our athletes for their great achievements we must not forget support staff.

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