Track and Field Next Week.
IT’S Day 8 of the XXXI Olympics Games in Rio and Team St. Lucia have two of their five athletes begin their quest for glory against the world’s best.
Team St. Lucia are in the very capable hands of Chef de Mission, David Christopher and Team Chaperon, Joyce Huxley, who have helped create a family atmosphere in the St. Lucia camp. The team has bonded through several meetings, meals in the cafeteria and casual dining area, and just hanging out together watching the excitement of the Olympic Games in the living room of their apartments.
Stephanie Lovell, along with her coach, 2012 Olympian Susannah Pyatt, have spent the last couple weeks preparing for the unpredictable conditions of the Rio winter season at the Marina de Gloria. However, one condition that no athlete has been able to prepare for is the questionable water conditions of the city of Rio De Janeiro.
With major concerns being raised about the athlete’ safety over the past six months, (mostly for the athletes who will be swimming in these waters), the athletes were told to avoid opening their mouths to avoid any ingestion, a feat close to impossible for anyone who has swum or sailed in open water conditions.
However, there have been no incidents recorded to date, and St. Lucia’s youngest team member has shown great mental toughness in her first ever Olympics Games.
Sailing in the Laser Radial Women’s Class, which was first featured at the Beijing 2008 Games, Lovell is part of a field of 37 boats that went through five Days of racing throughout the week with just one off day to recover on Thursday. At the conclusion of the qualifying rounds, the top ten sailors will go on to race in the finals and compete for medals in this event.
At the conclusion of Day 3, the results Lovell were as follows: Monday – Race 1 – 29th place, Race 2 – 25th place. Tuesday – Race 3 – 30th place, Race 4 – 33rd place, Wednesday – Race 5 – 30th place, Race 6 – 29th place.
This currently places Lovell in 30th position overall, and in her own words she says: “This feels like a dream come true to be at the Olympic Games competing with the greatest sailors in the world.”
Coach Pyatt was very proud of Lovell as she showed guts and determination to give it her all against bigger and more experienced competitors. Lovell enjoyed a much needed rest day before she headed back to the Marina de Gloria yesterday 12 to continue her quest to qualify for the medal rounds.
On Thursday , Jordan Augier (Men’s 50 metres Freestyle), Augier finished 5th in Heat 6 in a time of 23.28 seconds. He finished 45th among 85 competitors.
As is customary at most Olympics, the track and field events are set to begin in the second week of the Games with one of the most anticipated events, the Men’s and Women’s 100 metres. St. Lucian will finally have a track athlete to support at the Olympics for the first time in 16 years and for the first time ever, two athletes in the same field event.
Much to the satisfaction of the athletes, they have been preparing for their big moment under the guidance and support of each of their current respective personal coaches.
Competing in her third Olympic Games, Levern Spencer has been under the watchful eye of her personal coach, PetrosKyprianou. Despite the uncertainties surrounding Rio prior to her arrival, Spencer is happy that things have been smooth regarding her preparation over the past week. She says her training has gone well, her body feels right, and she’s right where she wants to be at this point. With her event just one week away, Spencer is eager to get on the track as she looks forward to an-other huge opportunity in her illustrious career.
While Spencer is a veteran in this environment and level of competition, JeannelleScheper is making her debut at the Olympics. Having been the first St. Lucian to qualify for Rio, Jeannelle is coming into the Games off her best season to date. Having worked with Scheper for the past five years, Coach Delethea Quarles has guided Scheper to peak at the right time and looks forward to this opportunity of coaching her at the Olympics.
Scheper says things have been progressing really well, especially being in the village and having access to all the facilities necessary to help her prepare for her event. She’s excited to have her coach here now, as she feels all the pieces of the puzzle are now coming together to culminate for a great performance.
B est Best has been a great addition to team St. Lucia, as he has brought a pro athlete mentality into the camp from day one. Following the advice of former Olympian Maurice Green who knows as best as anyone what it takes to succeed at this level, Best’s confidence is peaking at the right time. He has spent the last week fine tuning his technique and working on starts and maintaining fitness and speed.
Jahvid Best is no stranger to performing in front of packed stadiums as a former pro-American Football player, but he has never been more excited to put on his spikes and perform at the Olympics. During a team meeting, when asked to speak of his expectations, Best said, he’s excited and ready to shock the world”, a statement that inspired the rest of his team mates to believe that perhaps this, too, is their destiny at the 2016 Rio Games.