SPORT Jamaica's Omar Mcleod ecstatic after Mens 110m Hurdles Gold win at Rio 2016

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SPORT Jamaica's Omar Mcleod ecstatic after Mens 110m Hurdles Gold win at Rio 2016

SPORT  Jamaica's Omar Mcleod ecstatic after Mens 110m Hurdles Gold win at Rio 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil    Omar McLeod picked up a gold medal in the Olympic 110-metre hurdles Tuesday night to add to his country’s haul in Rio de Janeiro. The 22-year-old topped Orlando Ortega of Spain and Dimitri Bascou of France for Jamaica’s first title in the event.    Add the hurdles to the growing list of things the tiny Caribbean island is dominating. McLeod said he fed off the performances of Bolt in the 100, along with medal-winning performances of Elaine Thompson (gold) and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (bronze) in the women’s 100. 

You see them go out and represent themselves, and represent their country, have fun — and they win. They harness medals,” McLeod said. “You want to do the same thing. It’s contagious. You want to feel how it feels. I felt how it feels.”

“Honestly, I knew I loved hurdles. I did the 400m hurdles and the 110m and I just knew, I had that love for hurdles. 

“But never in a million years would I have imagined seeing myself here being a world champion and an Olympic champion in one year. That’s crazy,” said McLeod.   

In March (this year), he won the IAAF World Indoor 60m hurdles crown in 7.41 seconds and just two days ago, “Mr Silk”, as he is known, struck Olympic gold in the 110m hurdles in 13.05 seconds.

To become a champion, he had to slow down a bit. That’s right, slow down.

See, he’s too fast for his own good sometimes, and was approaching the hurdles perhaps a little too quickly. He drew it back a notch, worked on his timing and cadence, and that led to a fast time — 13.05 seconds, which was 0.12 seconds faster than Ortega.

“I’ve learned to be patient,” said McLeod, who was sixth at the World Championships last summer in Beijing. “I honestly played it safe for this. I was reserved a lot. All I needed to do, to be honest, was hurdle.

In March (this year), he won the IAAF World Indoor 60m hurdles crown in 7.41 seconds and just two days ago, “Mr Silk”, as he is known, struck Olympic gold in the 110m hurdles in 13.05 seconds.

“I am elated; the feeling is honestly indescribable.

“I don’t even know what’s going through my mind right now. 

“I need to go back and recite it a couple times, I am the Olympic champion, I am the Olympic champion,” said McLeod, proudly wrapped in the black, green and gold flag of Jamaica. 

McLeod, who finished sixth at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing last year, showed remarkable mental strength to bounce back from two disastrous Diamond League races in which he fell and failed to finish.

Previously unbeaten in 2016, on July 15 McLeod fell at the Monaco meet and only four days later, in Hungary, he fell again and it played on his mind.

“It did. Obviously it weighs on your mind. You fall and you wonder what’s going on. 

“But as I said, you just need to learn how to regroup from stuff like that and I did that.

“I went home and I just pretended like it didn’t happen and I learnt a lot from it. I moved on and it got me the victory,” he pointed out.

“You guys know my journey. It has been an up and down year. 

“I had a mishap, but I never dwell on it. It was a kind of a humbling experience — not that I am a cocky person; but I humbled myself to the fact and I came to the realisation that things happen in the sport,” said the former Manchester High and Kingston College standout.

Only recently McLeod became the first man to run the 100m under 10 seconds clocking 9.99 seconds and the 110m hurdles in under 13 seconds in 12.97 seconds. His speed was becoming a hindrance. McLeod’s winning time of 13.05 second was the slowest in 24 years since Mark McKoy won in 1992 at the Barcelona Games in Spain.

“I honestly played it safe for the Olympics.

“You know my speed; I didn’t want it to get the best of me.

So, I reserved a lot. All I needed to do, to be honest, was hurdle,” he explained.

“It was like the same line-up as World Indoors. I had Dimitri [Bascou] beside me and Pascal [Martinot-Lagarde], so I just needed to get out and control the race. 

“The leg speed is there, so all I needed to do was hurdle,” said McLeod.

“I tried my hardest not to let the speed get the best of me because I think. 

“I could not let my speed take control of me, you cannot do that in the hurdles. I have learnt the hard way. 

I just needed to stay grounded,” he reiterated.

“I thank Jamaica and all the support systems that allowed me to go through that for experiencing the world scene as a youth and that’s what we live for,” said McLeod. 

 

 

 

 

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