Fire on Ice! … Mayhew looks forward to historic bobsled competition

first_imgMeet 17-year-old Daniel Mayhew.He cannot drive a car, but he is quite competent, and on evidence, very comfortable guiding a bobsleigh downhill at 110km/h.The Charlemont High school student will head off to a training camp next week before taking his place as Jamaica’s first representative at the Winter Youth Olympic Games where he will feature in the Monobob competition.Remember that movie Cool Runnings?Well this is yet another version of Jamaicans defying logic and excelling on ice.Mayhew’s case becomes even more outstanding when the fact that he only stepped in a bobsleigh for the first time a mere 11 months ago at a Swiss training camp is taken into consideration.”I can’t recall exactly what I was feeling, but I know I was very nervous at first. They started me at the middle of the track, so that I didn’t get as much speed as I would if I started at the top,” Mayhew recollected during a recent chat with The Gleaner.HEARD HORROR STORIESHe heard many horror stories before that maiden voyage, but his first few runs were incident free, and as his confidence grew, so did his popularity among the other young athletes at the camp.The Jamaican, who lives in the St Catherine community Orange Field, which was also home to former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell, went on to win two ‘B’ finals and book his place among the qualifiers for the February 12 – 21 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.”I am a little bit surprised. I was the underdog and coming out on top in the B finals shows that I am going somewhere and I can see that I am improving my driving skills and my overall performance,” Mayhew added.”Going to the Olympic Games is a really extraordinary feeling. When I finished my qualifying run and knew that I qualified, it was an overwhelming feeling. I am hoping to get a medal possibly even the gold. The potential is there for me to do it, all I have to do is listen to my coach and I know I can come out on top,” he said.It was that well-rounded coach Harry Nelson, his eighth grade physical education teacher, who took the academic enthusiast out of a class one day and greeted him with the words: “I am have mission for you. You are going to compete in the bobsled.”Hard words to process for a teenager, who had little interest in actually competing in sports. But Nelson, who was impressed with the form shown during eight grade PE, was convinced he had the potential.”At first I was not attracted to the sport, it all happened really suddenly … I really wasn’t that interested at first; who wants to do that (bobsled)?” he laughed. “It’s a very different experience, but it has been extraordinary.”Mayhew, who has passed eight subjects all with ones and twos has hopes to become a commercial pilot in the future but is, however, happy that he decided to take the leap in the bobsleigh and is looking to do his best in Norway.But has he seen the movie Cool Runnings?”I saw that movie before. It was really just like any other movie to me. It really wasn’t that interesting to me at first, but before I left I watched it again because I had a feeling people were going to ask me about it,” he laughed.Maybe his story will play a part in a sequel.last_img read more

Praise for Dodd, the record breaker

first_imgDanniel Thomas-Dodd upped her national shot put record for the second time in 2017 with a runner-up finish at the US NCAA Indoor Championships. Competing on the College Station campus of Texas A&M University, Dodd pushed the shot put to 18.40m. That added 8cm to a mark she set last month. Dodd broke the Jamaican record of 18.20m last month with a mark of 18.32. In College Station, she peppered the 18m line with a six throw series of 18.00, 17.90, 17.99, 18.26, 18.40 and a final-round foul. Willingness to work Marlon Gayle, who coached the Westmoreland native for two seasons at Edwin Allen Comprehensive High School, attributes her improvement to her willingness to work with a goal in mind. Speaking on March 12, he said, “If she wants something, she’s going to work towards it, and I told her regardless of which college you go to, university you go, you’re going to do well.” She left Edwin Allen with the 2012 Boys and Girls’ Championships shot put record – 14.47m – and set sail for Kent State University in Ohio. She has blossomed there. A member of Jamaica’s teams to the 2014 Commonwealth Games where she was a finalist in the discus, the 2015 Pan-American Games where she punched the shot 17.76m to place 5th, she has also competed against the best on the planet at the 2015 World Championships and the 2016 Olympics. According to Gayle, the 24- year-old Thomas-Dodd is a coach’s dream. “What makes coaching exciting and achieving objectives a good thing, is to have an athlete who really knows what he or she is about”, he said. “That motivates any coach to really do their very best and be their very best for those individuals,” Gayle smiled.last_img read more