T&T’s four-time Olympic medallist and former World 200 metres champion Ato Boldon, has accepted the role of preparing Richard ‘Torpedo’ Thomspon for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio.
Boldon, who is currently performing multiple roles at the Beijing World Championships 2015, revealed yesterday that Thompson approached him and he had accepted the challenge to prepare the 2008 Olympic 100 metres silver medallist for the prestigious event next year.
Boldon said he always enjoyed a good relationship with Thompson and had known him since primary school. “He called me and said: “You know what? I do not have too many more chances at this but I want to be at my best for the Olympics, so would you consider coaching me?”
Boldon said he responded positively but told Thompson such a development would mean moving to Florida. “So he is in Florida right now looking for a house. So Richard Thompson will be joining my team.”
Boldon said he expects Thompson to be in Florida very soon since his camp starts in October. “Richard will be with me. My camp is a lot bigger than that of three but I just cannot reveal who is coming. There may be some other Trinidad and Tobago sprinters as well. As of right now, only Richard Thompson is confirmed and of course Khalifa St Fort,” he added.
One of his key roles in Beijing is part of the T&T coaching staff where he is focused on the relays. He is working closely with the women's 4x100 metres team.
“I have watched them train since we got here. I know how Michele (Lee Ahye) has been battling injuries and Kelly Ann (Baptiste) is coming back from a couple years off, so I was very proud of the fact that they both made the finals. America had only one person in the final and we put two. This is very significant. I wish they could have run better but I think this set up for a nice run at the Rio Olympics, now that they have reached the finals some months ahead of the Games,” noted Boldon
Reflecting on the race which was won by Jamaica’s Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, Boldon said Ahye may have taken herself out of the race early because of a slow start. “Michele is a very inconsistent starter and when you are in a final with people running 10.7 and 10.8, you don’t have that luxury so she took herself out of it early.”
He thought Baptiste was a bit rusty. “When she is at her best, Kelly Ann can start with anybody in the world but she has not been starting with that kind of form for quite some time,” he noted.
Boldon said both sprinters have to time their season better. “The times that it took to make the podium tonight, Michele was actually running in April in Gainesville at the Florida Relays. You have to time your season so that you are running your best times when it counts. That is what all the athletes here are trying to do—time your season to be at your best when it counts the most.”
Apart from his role on the T&T coaching staff, Boldon is also an IAAF brand ambassador and NBC analyst.