Richard Thompson – Trinidad and Tobago’s sprint ace

Richard Thompson prepares for 2012 London Olympics

Richard Thompson - Trinidad and Tobago's sprint ace

Trinidadian sprinter Richard Thompson says he is very pleased with the progress he has made since joining the John Smith camp in Los Angeles, USA, late last year regarding his training for the Olympic Games in London being held from July 27-August 4, 2012.

Richard, the “Torpedo” is hoping that the upcoming Olympic Games will be a testament to his hard work and is aiming for podium finishes in the 100m, 200m and 400m sprint relay.  At 26 years old Thompson believes that being around 2011 World Championship women’s 100m gold medalist Carmelita Jeter, reigning men’s 110m hurdles world champion Jason Richardson, and Norwegian sprinter Jaysuma Saidy Ndure, “…makes me very positive about my approach to training and competition.  It’s always a positive, fighter mentality” he stated.

 “It took me a little while to get accustomed to the workouts…it’s a lot tougher than what I’m accustomed to but it allows you to be mentally tough as well.” Thompson said.  He added that, “John communicates well, though. He asks us every day how we feel and sets the workout accordingly. He’s very big on technique and I think that’s important, especially when you start factoring in the fatigue from rounds.”

Richard Thompson was born on 7th June, 1985 in Cascade, Trinidad and Tobago. Today, he is a professional sprinter who has already been to his first Olympic Games.

Early Career

Thompson began his sprinting career when he began attending Louisiana State University on a scholarship.  He began racing as a member of the LSU Tigers track and field team.  As a member of the LSU team, he lowered the NCAA Indoor record in the 60 metres in 2008.

Professional Career

Thompson attempted his first World Championships in Osaka in 2007.  He reached the semi-final but with a time of 10.44 sec, he finished 8th.  Nevertheless, he got his big break in 2008, winning both indoors and outdoors in the sprints at the NCAA level. Thompson expanded his versatility to include the 200m in 2008.  He ran his Personal Best for the 200m in 20.18 seconds in Fayetteville for LSU and his 60m Personal Best is 6.51 seconds, achieved in March 2008 in Fayetteville.

Beijing 2008

In the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics he competed in the 100m sprint and placed first in his heat ahead with a time of 10.24 sec.  He qualified for the second round, beating Tyson Gay with a winning time of 9.99 sec.  He qualified in the semi-finals with a time of 9.93 sec, finishing second to Asafa Powell.

Thompson raised the hopes of a clean sweep in the 100m for the Caribbean.  Running with compatriots Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell, Thomson proved his mettle with a blazing run to win the silver medal with a personal best of 9.89 sec, behind winner Usain Bolt, with a 9.69 sec record.  Not to be outdone, together with Keston Bledman, Aaron Armstrong and Marc Burns, Thompson also competed at the 4 x 100 metres relay.  In their qualification heat they placed first in front of Japan, the Netherlands and Brazil in a time of of 38.26 sec. His team moved on to win the silver medal in the 4 x 100 meters behind the Jamaican star team.

Tragedy

In 2009, Thompson was involved in a car accident, resulting in minor injuries which caused him to miss the indoor athletics season.  Defying the odds, he competed at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics and reached the 100m final, finishing in fifth place with a season’s best of 9.93 seconds. For the 4 x 100m, he ran along with fellow finalist Marc Burns and ran a national record time of 37.62 seconds to finish as runners-up behind the Jamaican team.

Awards and Recognition

Having done extremely well for his country and region, Thompson is highly respected in Trinidad and has received numerous awards. He was also named the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee and the First Citizen’s Sports Foundation Sportsman of the Year for 2008.  Further, he was also awarded a National Award, the Chaconia Medal Gold along with his 2008 Olympic Games 4 x 100 meters relay teammates.

On 13 August 2011, Thompson became the fastest man in Trinidad and Tobago when he ran 9.85sec in the 100m during the Sagicor-NAAA National open track and field championships 2011, at the Hasely Crawford stadium, Port of Spain. The achievement, which ranked him 9th fastest in all-time lists, eclipses Trinidadian sprinter’s Ato Boldon’s national record.

Today, Richard goes down as arguably the greatest sprinter to ever wear the LSU uniform after dominating the sport of collegiate track and field during his senior season in 2008. Further, he ranks as one of the greatest athletes out of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean as a whole.

By Norvan Martin

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