Olympian Michael Frater plots coaching careerThursday, July 22, 2021
BY HOWARD WALKER
The name Michael Frater won't be the first on Jamaicans' lips when they reminisce about the island's sprinting dominance.
But a closer look at the records would reveal that Frater was very pivotal in the rise of Jamaica's sprinting worldwide dominance, although Asafa Powell, Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake got most credit.
When Raymond Stewart won a 100m silver medal at the 1987 Rome World Championships in Italy, Jamaica had to wait 18 years for a medal in the event and that came courtesy of Frater at the 2005 World Championship, where he too won silver and the renaissance began.
It was the beginning of great things as, two years later, Bolt would cop silver in the 200m before everything exploded in 2008 at the Olympics in Beijing.
Frater, along with Bolt, Powell, Blake and Nesta Carter would form a formidable relay unit, winning gold at the Olympics and World championships and lowering the world record three times. Frater was a member on all three occasions.
But having retired in 2017 at the age of 34 because of persistent injuries, Frater has been very active off the track while honing his coaching skills at Jago High School.
Then, in 2020, he and Gregory Little formed the athletics club Titans (Training Intelligently Towards Athletes' Natural Speed). He is now guiding the career of his former Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake.
Frater has combined what he learnt from arguably the best two coaches in the world — Stephen Francis and Glen Mills — and his athletes are getting the best of both worlds.
Francis is the coaching guru at MVP, which guided Olympic champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson, along with former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell. Mills, meanwhile, guided the career of the greatest sprinter of all time Usain Bolt, and Yohan Blake to dizzying heights.
“It was formed on the vision of us giving back to the sport what we have learned and to help these young men and women accomplish their career goals,” Frater explained. “For me, it's a part of giving back. It's a part of sharing my knowledge of what I have garnered over the many years.”
“I have been competing and it's a situation where I can relate to the athletes. I have been in the position that most of them have been in. So for me, it is just understanding an athlete, knowing what they are going through, and passing on the knowledge,” he added.
But for the first time Frater will be heading to the Olympics not as a runner but as a coach of Yohan Blake and Jevaughn Minzie and he is just as excited.
“Yes, different but same excitement. Now, I just want the athletes to be confident and believe in the preparation we did for the year gearing towards this very meet,” he explained. “I just want them to relax, enjoy and execute in the moment.”
But the retired Olympian is not finished there and has ventured into the cannabis business where he opened his 4/20 Sports Therapeutic Bliss, a medical cannabis dispensary, with the hope of exposing and solving injuries as experienced first-hand by him.
Frater, who is also third vice-president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), said marijuana was once forbidden, but after experiencing its medicinal properties decided to expose others to its benefits.
But like all businesses, the novel coronavirus pandemic has had a crippling effect. “It's coming along. COVID and the lockdown are not helping. But [we are] staying the course,” said Frater.
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