For the first time since 2000, Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell was not competing at the Olympic Games. Instead, the ‘Sub-10 King’, who has 97 career sub-10-second 100m performances, was home watching the games with his family like the rest of us.
But after no Jamaican athlete qualified for the men’s 100 m final for the first time in three consecutive Olympics, and the social media bashing that ensued, Powell felt he had to come to the defense of his colleagues.
“Don’t pressure the athletes, don’t pressure the male athletes, we’re just going through a phase, wi just a revamp and some back again so don’t pressure the athletes,” he said in a video posted on his YouTube channel.
Powell, who held the men’s 100m world record before Usain Bolt chided Jamaicans on their tendency to forget the achievements of their athletes.
“We know a lot of you Jamaicans are very ungrateful and love bash people and forget very easily, you guys forget very very quickly. As somebody come or something happen, uno brain just cancel or reset. You guys need to stop being so ungrateful, and just be happy. You guys are spoilt, the generation before this spoil uno-the Nesta Carters, the Micheal Frater, the Asafa Powell, Usain Bolt, and all of these athletes, spoil uno!” he said.
Yohan Blake was the country’s best hope of a medal in the 100 m, and when he did not qualify faced most of the criticism, so Powell took some time to remind his viewers of Blake’s accomplishments.
“And Yohan Blake, you guys need to remember, Yohan Blake was second 2012 Olympic games, uno forgot that? Yohan a the second-fastest man inna history.”
He also informed them of the struggles that athletes face and advocated for Jamaicans to humanize them.
“Uno a cuss the athlete dem, weh uno think aguh happen when the athlete dem leave Olympics and go a dem yard? Most of the athlete dem a go back to wah regular 9-5 job, none a uno can put food pon the athlete table?” he asked.
He added; “The athlete dem going right back a dem yard, majority of them don’t have a sponsorship to live off of, so a lot of dem, memba dem have family and all these things, dem cya support dem family dem deh Olympics a run out dem soul and people deh a Jamaica a bash the athlete dem and all over the place. You can pick on one hand how many athletes have dem big sponsorship and can just live off of dem sponsorship after dem go to the Diamond League and all that stuff.”
In the end, Powell said everyone wanted to win, and the bashing from Jamaicans is not helping the athletes’ morale.
“Yuh think dem go out there to lose? Dem nuh go out there to lose. Dem go out there to do their best and win because this is their living, this is how they make their money. Jamaica nuh pay athletes to run so uno stop pressure the athlete dem,” he said.