As the sting of a missed Olympics bid fades, Adjetey-Nelson contemplates his future
ith the London Olympics no longer a possibility, Windsor track star Jamie Adjetey-Nelson must decide on his future.
His dreams as an Olympian were, at the very least, put on hold when he failed to finish the final event of the decathlon at the Calgary Canadian Track and Field Championships in June.
Prior to the 1,500-metres run, 28-year-old Adjetey-Nelson held the lead after nine events.
“He had a 98-point lead going into the 1,500,” said his coach Brett Lumley. “Which was roughly a 15-second cushion (over second place.)”
Adjetey-Nelson didn’t need an A standard run. He just needed to win.
“I really wasn’t focusing on the A standard,” Adjetey-Nelson said. “I was focusing on beating the guy who was in second. That was the plan.”
Six hundred metres into the race, the 10th and final event of the decathlon, both his legs gave way— first his left hamstring and then his right cramped up.
“When I went down, I really couldn’t believe that it was happening to me. And, being so close … I wasn’t really ready or prepared for an experience like that.”
“And he went through the first lap just a little bit ahead of target time,” Lumley recalled.
“We’re not really sure (what happened). His hydration was good, he was eating well, taking lots of electrolytes. So, it’s something we have to explore.”
“The main thing was that he was healthy,” Lumley continued. “In the last month or so of practice, he’s been healthy. He was able to do all of the training that he’d normally do so there wasn’t any modification of his training.”
Adjetey-Nelson led the Decathlon after the first day of events, a day Lumley doesn’t consider indicative of the star athletes’ true prowess.
“Day 1 was probably average,” Lumley said. “It was a good day, not a great day. We talked about what he needed to do going on from Day 1 into Day 2.
“(Adjetey-Nelson) competes very well when he’s relaxed and doesn’t put too much pressure on himself. You know, we talked about (going) in there, one event at a time. That was always our focus. Be relaxed. Just be personal, just be himself and that’s exactly what he did.”
Day 2 went even better. That’s what made the incomplete 1,500 metres all the more heart-wrenching.
“There’s disappointment,” Lumley said. “You know in an instant, as soon as you can’t get back up again, that you’ve lost the time and lost the chance to fulfil one of your dreams— and that was to go to the Olympics.”
“And yet, he was surrounded by people that always supported him— myself, fellow athletes and his girlfriend— so as devastating as it was, it’s not the end of the world.”
While Adjetey-Nelson will contemplate his future over the rest of the summer, Lumley does hint that the 2010 Commonwealth Games winner isn’t over the hill as an athlete yet.
“Generally speaking, a decathlete tends to mature as an athlete a little later in their career,” he said, “because it takes that much more time to become technically proficient in all the events. So, generally speaking, a decathlete will peek between the ages of 28 and 32.”
However, Adjetey-Nelson has other things to consider than just his age. He’s decided to take a philosophical approach.
“I’m just waiting to see how I feel,” he said. “It’s still fresh in my head right now and I don’t want to make any hasty decisions. I’m just going to take this time to enjoy the rest of my summer and kind of go through the same thing I would if I were going to the Olympics. You know, take three weeks just to relax and then start thinking about my future.”
He revealed that a career in track and field is not as lucrative in Canada as it is in other countries. And, if he were to continue, Adjetey-Nelson wouldn’t find the same sort of funding he’s been used to.
“I have to think about the other things— my career, my savings, you know, things that everyday people do who are not athletes. Like family, owning a home own a car, working a career. I have a lot more to weigh on than just on competing.”
“You know, the way I live as an athlete, it’s paycheck-to-paycheck.”