Thursday, September 6, 2007

'I will be back' - Jared Connaughton on disappointing relay performance

'I will be back'
Jared Connaughton says disappointing relay performance at worlds
will not be his legacy on the international stage
The Guardian

How individuals handle adversity can provide considerable insight into a person.
And the way Prince Edward Island’s top track athlete has responded after a disappointing performance by the Canadian 4x100 relay team at the IAAF world athletics championship in Japan last week, is admirable.
Coming off a Pan American Games’ silver medal in July, New Haven's Jared Connaughton and teammates were poised to make an impact on the world stage.
Then something went wrong in the heat.
“We all believed that we would be finalists and potential medal hopefuls,” said Connaughton in an e-mail from Texas. “Unfortunately, Anson Henry (second leg) and myself (third leg) had a miscue and bobbled the handoff.”
At this level, the race has to be nearly perfect, said the 22-year-old Islander, in order to qualify for the final.
“I was really hard on myself after the mistake and I’m disappointed that this was the outcome. I’ve learned so much from the experience, not just as an athlete, but as a person entering manhood.”
He knows improvements are to be made physically and mentally to become a true professional of the sport.
“I know that I am going to put in the efforts needed to become an Olympian, either in the 100m, 200m or 4x100 relay, maybe all three,” he said with conviction.
Connaughton will enjoy more success on the track, there is no question. He chalks this experience up to a priceless life lesson.
“This will not be my legacy on the international stage. I will be back, stronger than ever.”
Sport can be cruel in how it judges its performers. This incident, an exchange of the baton, falls into the ‘what have you done lately?’ category. Fair enough.
Still, there were conquests, some little, others big, leading up to the heat.
The pre-world training camp in Singapore was big.
“It’s the same venue that the Canadian Olympic Committee has chosen as the sight for the pre-Olympic training camp for next year’s Olympics,” said Connaughton. “The 4x1 team did some time-trial testing, in which I set a new personal best (80m dash in 8.06 seconds) so there was no doubt, I was ready to run fast come Osaka.”
The recent graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington now looks to the future. And with the eventual construction of a new track and field facility in Charlottetown, Connaughton will be able to train on his beloved Island, a place he has spent less than a month on this year.
“Hopefully in the next few years I’ll be able to spend more time at home, without fear of losing fitness because of the lack of facilities, especially now with the construction of the 2009 (Canada Games) track facility.”
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