Although Olympic gold medal winner Carmelita Jeter is a track and field champion, the world’s fastest woman says youngsters hoping to emulate her success should put their education before sport.
Jeter, who is appearing at the second annual Cayman Invitational track and field meet at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex on 8 May, has plenty of advice for aspiring champions.
“I would tell the young people to stay focused in school first and then focus on their sport,” she said. “I believe in education over sports. I’d say never give up on yourself and it takes hard work to be great. Don’t cheat yourself and be lazy or cut corners.”
Jeter, who comes from Southern California, obtained a bachelor’s degree in physical education after having attended California State University. So she knows the difficulties of balancing studies with training.
“I believe going to school and getting your degree is very important, everyone wants to be a star but sometimes your plan doesn’t always work out so you should have a backup plan,” she said. “It’s very difficult to be a student athlete, to train and still be responsible for your schoolwork. It is not an easy job at all.”
Jeter clearly managed to get the balance right as she became the university’s first US Olympics trials qualifier and went on to reach third place in the 100 metres in the 2009 Berlin World Championships.
Then she competed in the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, where she took home two gold medals in the 100m and the 4x100m relay and 200m silver.
At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Jeter won gold in the 4x100m relay, silver in the 100m and bronze in the 200m.
Ensuring that Cayman’s aspiring athletes benefit from her talents, Jeter is looking forward to attending the Cayman Invitational youth camp during her time spent in Grand Cayman, which she said will be a priority.
As part of the Cayman Invitational, meet organiser KyStar Athletics has included a series of appearances and presentations by the visiting athletes to be made throughout Cayman’s schools and an athletics youth camp with those Cayman children participating in, or interested in athletics.
The athletics youth camp is at Truman Bodden Sports Complex on Tuesday 7 May and will be attended by close to 100 local schoolchildren.
KyStar Athletics is owned and managed by Cayman’s Commonwealth Games gold medallist Cydonie Mothersill-Stephens and her husband, Ato Stephens. The core objective of KyStar Athletics is the development of athletics in the Cayman Islands.