For many, Elaine Thompson Herah’s entree, to the Jammaica Athletic fraternity, was one fraught with lots of ifs and buts, as there were many who she offended, early in her career, after watching her score a number of triumphs, and noticed the offhand manner with which she treated her team-mates, in the international space, which led many to conclude that she was not a team-player, lacked graciousness, and was too much of a prima donna, way too early in the game.
A Number of Track and Field fans commented that she lacked the esprit de corp that was the hallmark of the Jamaican track and field contingent, after observing her post-race demeanor in which she had appeared reticent to pay homage to fellow Jamaican competitors Sprint darling ShellyAnn Fraser-Pryce and Jamaica’s latest female sprint sensation, Sherica Jackson; after they all competed at a number of Diamond League events.
Despite their misgivings, many Sports observers and fans, decided to embrace and support her, as she was also flying the Jamaican colours and was a product of the Stephen Francis founded and led, very successful MVP Track Club, which made her deserving of the Nation’s support. The nation in return, “Expected Big Tings from Her”.
When news broke however, that Thompson-Herah, was leaving the Stephen Francis-led Led MVP Track Club, the disappointment was universal, especially after word leaked that her Husband, would be taking over duties as her coach. As there were many, before her who threw hissy-fits in leaving for greener pastures, that turned out to be everything but!
To use an old maxim, one Track and Field Writer, opined” Obviously, “she has never heard not to mix business with pleasure,” What was suspected to have been the source of the rift, according to whispers back then when news of the split, first surfaced, was that her husband Derron Herah, wanted to coach her. Well, seems like he got the job and Stephen Francis, in an interview he gave recently, suggested Thompson-Herahs, current troubles might be due to her choice of a coach, and since leaving the MVP outfit, she has noticeably been struggling to maintain form, style, and track relevance.
And this, observers say, could possibly be a result of her new coach, husband, Derron Herah, a former athlete who specialized in the 400m and 400 Hurdles, but never medalled at any recognized meet, and or made much of an impact nationally and or internationally, but now works as a coach for a recognized High School. He is reportedly quite an affable guy, but probably just doesn’t have the fiber needed to make the transition when it is necessary, from being a husband to the role of Coach. And for the partnership to reap rewards, especially for Thompson-Herah, on the track, this must be not only understood by both of them, but it must also be their working priority.
As her coach, it stands to reason that the couple seems to be mixing business with pleasure and this dual role might have caused her to lose – her competitive edge and readiness. As some speculate: he being her husband, will make him possibly more than not, less likely to be the strict disciplinarian, she needs to maintain her fitness, and competitive edge.
There’s nothing wrong with her wanting her husband to coach her, or conversely he wanting to coach his wife; but according to a source close to the situation, they should both wake up and smell the Coffee, and realize that that arrangement is not working out for her, as she has been struggling since she left MVP.
Some say that if she wants to return to the top of her game in time for the next Olympics, she should eat a large slice of humble pie, sing a public Sankey, and ask Francis’s forgiveness and his blessings to return to his fold, to try and regain her mojo, to kickstart her career before its too late. As the Graveyard of former Stephen Francis/MVP, Coached ‘Star-athletes’ who walked away from the MVP Track Club, with a huff and puff, only to fade into the mosaic of also-rans, should be instructive and be Thompson-Herah’s guide as she contemplates her future and legacy.