BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday, April 10, 2016
Three years after a Sunday Observer exposÃ© revealed her living and selling “bag juice” in New Kingston to survive, former Jamaica athlete Olivia McKoy is back on the streets, although she is still hoping to achieve her dream.
|Olivia McKoy, Javelin Thrower|
“You know people will say, why not leave athletics and try to and get a job? But the job of running is what I do, and I would not tell anybody in a regular job not to work until they are 65 and retire. If you still think you’ve something left in you, you have to keep going,” she told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.
McKoy won international recognition in a field event in which Jamaicans historically fail to do well — the javelin. She won bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and two silver medals at the Central American and Caribbean Championships although she failed to medal while representing Jamaica at the 2000 and 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
However, after falling on hard times, being beaten and robbed at her former home in Belvedere, St Andrew in 2012, she was left homeless and destitute on the streets of New Kingston, selling bagged drinks to survive. Following the exposure of her condition in the Sunday Observer, she was offered a position at the Hydel Group of Schools in Ferry, St Catherine. However, that did not last long, as she soon fell out of favour with the school’s head, Hyacinth Bennett, and has since returned to the streets of New Kingston and Half-Way-Tree.
But McKoy has insisted that she will continue to follow her dream of restoration and today she will compete in the “Everyone is a Winner” Best Dressed Chicken 5K road race which ends at Hope Botanical Gardens in St Andrew. She is among the favourites to top the women’s section.
|Olivia McKoy, Jamaican Athlete|
Following her episode at Hydel, she had stopped training for months, as she shared a room on the premises of Andrews Memorial Hospital, Hope Road, with an elderly woman who needed care. But that also ended in 2014 and since then she has been forced to return to the streets.
McKoy resumed her training in March of last year when, despite a lack of practice, she turned up at the UWI Track and Field meet and demolished the field, winning the javelin open with a throw of 49.62 metres. Her nearest rival threw 41.12 metres. But, a lack of opportunity to train with the javelin led her to take up the 5K.
“I had nowhere to practice the javelin, and since I was always walking, I decided to enter walk races,” she explained. more