Sunday, 5 August 2012

COOL RUNNINGS: VCB talks growing up in yam country, competition, and her life-changing non-profit

On the eve of landing her latest Olympic medal – bronze in the 100M dash – Jamaica’s 30-year-old sprint queen and tireless competitor Veronica Campbell-Brown sat down with CNN’s Piers Morgan to talk about her upbringing, the perennial Jamaica-United States sprinting rivalry, and how she’s helping to change the lives of other young Jamaican women.

On coming of age in yam country Trelawny:

“I do enjoy eating yam. I grew up on it. My parents actually planted it when I was growing up, and it’s very delicious.”

Being like one of the boys:
“There were a lot of us in my family, so I learned to be competitive from a very young age. I actually used to race against boys barefoot on the street and I used to beat them, as well.”

On the moments before a big race:

“I am calm, I am focussed. I keep my eyes on the prize and I try not to let the pressure overwhelm me. I focus on what I need to do in the race, and then I run it very technical, the way I trained. So, I try to focus on me and my lane and what I need to do stay competitive.”

Jamaica vs. USA – A tale of two sprinting powerhouses:
“Jamaica has a very rich tradition in sprinting, and I enjoy the rivalry between Jamaica and the US. I think it brings a lot of excitement to the sport, and I’m sure the fans enjoy it as much as the athletes do.”

On racing fellow Trelawny native, Usain Bolt:

“No, I have never raced Usain, but maybe we could set it up so we could see what I could do (Laughs). Of course, I’d race Usain. I’m not afraid. But you’d have to give me about a 50-metre jump ahead.”

The Usain Bolt mystique:

“He’s a very talented person; he’s a great person. He loves what he does, and he’s very funny. And he’s fun to be around.”

On empowering young Jamaican women through her foundation:

“I was designated UNESCO Ambassador for Gender Equality, and the foundation is one of the things that I started to help and empower females in Jamaica. So far we have given full scholarships to girls at the high-school level, and we make sure that they complete their high-school education. And I’m hoping very shortly to announce an increase in that number.”

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