Made in Duckenfield! - St Thomas coach says hills built Russell, Turgott
Ryon Patterson, coach of St Thomas Technical High School, has proclaimed that the hills of Duckenfield equipped Jamaican track athletes-turned bobsledders Carrie Russell and Nimroy Turgott to do well across two sporting disciplines.
Russell and Turgott made the switch from track and field to bobsleigh. Russell, who won a gold medal as part of the female relay team at the World Championship in Moscow in 2013, qualified for the Winter Olympic Games last week.
Turgott and his teammates are ranked 31st on the Olympic Qualification list.
Should a team drop out from the Games, Jamaica's males will be first in line to make their seventh appearance at the Winter Olympics.
Patterson attributed their successful transition from the track to the ice to the strength they developed by running through the hills at Duckenfield.
"When I heard that she was making the switch, I knew she had the background to take it on," Patterson said. "Plus, I know all the hills she run at Duckenfield hilltop, and sand work build her, so I knew she would do well. When Turgott called me and say he was making the switch, I said the same thing."
Patterson said that the objective was not only to prepare athletes for track and field but to become all-rounders.
"I always tell them that their development in track and field can help them in another sport, so don't be one-track minded. So said, so done," Patterson said, adding that he realised Russell was special when he saw her trying out for the girls' football team.
"One day, we were at the PE class when Carrie and other girls were practising for the female football team. She was on the wing and when the girl passed the ball, the speed at which she covered the wing, I said, 'No man, she is in the wrong sport'," Patterson said.
"She was a determined child. Normally, I put a tyre on her when she was running over the hills."
The Winter Olympic Games will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, February 9-25.