Pondering the future of the children of our athletic icons

By May 18, 2020

On Sunday, the world welcomed news of the birth of the first child of track and field icon Usain Bolt and his lovely other half Kasi Bennett. Congratulations to both who I am sure will make wonderful parents to their little girl.

Bolt now joins a growing list of Jamaican track and field greats of the modern era who have become parents in the past few years. Already parents are Olympic 100m silver medallist Sherone Simpson, two-time Olympic champion and five-time world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, two-time Olympic champion and two-time world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown and former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell.

It is an exciting time when the current icons begin producing spawn because then if, for nothing else, it could trigger conversations over whether these children blessed with exceptional DNA will continue on the legacies of their parents.

Just imagine, at the 2040 Olympic Games this daughter of Usain Bolt lining up in the 100m finals, 11 seconds away from creating another piece of history for this beautiful country of ours. Imagine again, that in a lane next to her is Avianna Amor Brown, the daughter of Veronica Campbell-Brown, ready to make her own piece of history regardless of whether she would be representing the USA or Jamaica.

With both parents, Omar and Veronica, blessed with sprinting talent, one would guess that their daughter would have a slight edge. However, perhaps if Bolt managed to pass on his over-abundance of otherworldly talent to his daughter that would give her the edge. The battle of the parents from Trelawny is what they would call it. It would be the stuff of legend.

In the men’s 200 final, Zyon, having tasted the World Championship experience from early, having watched from the stands as his mother became the first woman to win four 100m world titles in 2019, eyes Bolt’s world-record.

Meanwhile, in the women’s final, Sherone Simpson’s daughter, Leanna, stands on the cusp of her first Olympic title, as Jamaica is poised to win so many gold medals it eclipses the exploits of their parents two decades before.

Alas, that is where the fantasy ends. Why? Because there is no certainty that these children will ever become world-beating athletes like their parents were decades before.

For one, their circumstances will most likely be completely different.

Instead of being born to difficult circumstances like a Fraser-Pryce or Campbell-Brown, these offspring could very well be heirs to magnificent fortunes, beneficiaries of Ivy-League educations, holders of the proverbial golden spoon.

Therefore, even if track and field is viable two decades from now, their interests might lie in business, entrepreneurship, medicine, engineering, law, or other pursuits. From a physical standpoint, they might simply not be capable because the genes that made their parents great might become dormant only to re-emerge in some future generation.

What I hope, however, is that we allow them to be what they want to be and not burden them our expectations of what they should be because their parents were. They should be allowed to become their own men and women secure in the knowledge that the legacies of their parents will live on for generations and it would be time for them, their children, to chart their own destinies.

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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