Sixteen-year-old Jevaughn Minzie is perhaps sitting in a corner somewhere wishing he could take back what unfolded in his 200-metre final on the final day of the CARIFTA Games in Montego Bay.

Minzie, a student of Bog Walk High, had finished second in the Under-17 100-metre finals on the first day of the championships and had obviously hoped to atone for that loss by winning gold in the 200-metre sprint. At a 160-metres he seemed to have his desire realized as he led by a couple of metres over Trinidad’s Machel Cedenio, who already had won the 400-metre title. In just about three and a half seconds from then Minzie would have been declared the 2011 Carifta Under-17 Champion and Jamaica would have ended those championships with 34 gold medals.

All that would have become reality had it not been a moment of madness. Actually I prefer blatant stupidity.
Minzie was leading by a couple metres, not 10 or 15. However, somewhere in that 16-year-old brain of his something clicked, or shutdown, take your pick; and the young man turned to the grandstand crowd and then began spreading his arms as if to mimic Usain Bolt’s performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Bolt’s showboating ended up with him winning gold and setting a world record in that race but for Minzie it meant silver and ultimate embarrassment.

As the latter began turning his head towards what was supposed to be his adoring audience, he caught sight of the Trinidadian who had been gaining with every stride, but by then it was too late for the Jamaican performer. The dagger for Minzie came during the interview with Cedenio on Television Jamaica. He was asked what advice he would give to his Jamaican rival and he responded that Minzie should have waited he crossed the finish line before celebrating. He chuckled as he spoke, and rightfully so. Cedenio knows he was handed the gold medal, gift-wrapped at that. I would be smiling too.

Minzie volunteered to run the 4×400 metre relay to make up for his mindless actions earlier and was praised by his coach Leecroft Bolt for ‘manning up’ and taking responsibility for his brain-freeze.

It’s such a pity many of us are not able to do the same. Excuses were being presented left, right and centre for the young man who recognized that he had messed up and messed up on the biggest stage of his career to date.

It should serve as a lesson for him and all who saw it, especially fellow athletes who might be harbouring similar thoughts. The first thing they need to remember is that Usain Bolt is no ordinary athlete. He is the fastest man who have ever lived to run the 100 and 200 metres. He is not of this earth. Only athletes of similar talent will be able to do the things he does and get away with it.

The other thing they need to remember is that they are no where as fast as Bolt and as such, similar antics should be allowed to remain within their minds and never see the light of day.

The last thing and most important one of all, is what Cedenio revealed to them all during the post-race interview.

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  1. Gargan says:

    I totally agree. I sat in my settee after the race with my mouth agape. I was thinking, “What was that I just saw?!” I couldn’t believe it. Minzie could easily claim temporary insanity for his actions. However, I see some form or the other of showboating in our juniors, especially in Champs. They seem to feel the need to thump their chests, or raise both hands, or do something that will slow them down – BEFORE the race is over. I think they need to try to post their best times, focus till the end, and not think about “sticking it” to their competitors. Practise proper race techniques, guys!

  2. Angela Blanc says:

    Why is everyone so sure that he was celebrating? I take it that he was calling his fellow Jamaican competitor as Dwayne Extol did with Julian Forte in last year boys & girls championship. He just had no idea where the rest of the field was or how close anyone else was. Walker had a bad year and in Minzie’s view had only 1 chance of wining a medal so why not call my brethren but we spectators who in most cases can barely walk fast for 100m continue to chastise an athlete who does not perform to their(the spectator’s) expectation. Yes he blundered but I did not hear any such hooppla with the Extol/Forte action. Forte was also awarded the winner in that encounter as well the man coming from behind it could easily have been an athlete from another school. We need to get the win at all cost out of our heads and out of our junior sport representatives head. I am sure he has learnt from this even without the spectators behaving as if it was a life and death situation.

  3. Professor Trevor Hall says:

    The problem begins in practice where most athletes run 99-meters and not 100-meters, or 199-meters instead of 200-meters, or 398-meters instead of 400-meters. Until athletes run through the finish line in practice, they will not run through the finish line in competition.

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levyl Posted by: levyl April 27, 2011 at 10:28 am