Exclussive interview: Ato Boldon
Pakpassion interview with Ato Boldon now avaliable
The track and field event of the Sydeny Olympics 2000 was hyped to be a Marion Jones show. Before the start of the event American Marion Jones and Aussie Cathy Freeman received more media attention than the men how ever the attention was taken away from the ladies by the memorable 100m men’s race which determined the fastest human being on the planet.
By winning the 100 m gold medal Maurice Greene of the USA got the tag of the fastest man on the planet. Greene’s biggest challenger and the silver medalist of the 100m race was Ato Boldon who also went on to win a Bronze in the 200 m and in total won 4 Olympic medals(3 Bronze and 1 silver). Only 2 other men in history( Frankie Fredericks of Namibia and Carl Lewis of the USA) have won as many Olympic individual event sprint medals as Boldon . Through out his illustrious career Boldon won numerous other medals which included a gold medal in 200 m during the 1997 world championship and a gold medal in both 200 and 100 m in the world junior championships in 1992.
I'd like to extend a huge thank you to Ato on behalf of everyone here at PakPassion.Net for doing this interview. Also special thaks to Noddy bhai for arranging this interview. Here it is....
PakPassion.Net: What was the proudest moment of your career?
Ato Boldon: It'd have to be leading the 2001 Trinidad and Tobago 4 x 100m relay team to silver in the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton, Canada.
PakPassion.Net: Do you have friends amongst the current/past West Indian players?
Ato Boldon: I've known Brian Lara for 23 years, I went to high school with him. Mervyn Dillon, Dwayne Bravo and a few others are also friends of mine.
PakPassion.Net: How did you first get into running?
Ato Boldon: I ran a bit back in Trinidad but only did it seriously once I got to high school in NY after migrating from Trinidad. I was discovered whilst playing soccer.
PakPassion.Net: Which college did you go to? How is the training different at college level and international level.
Ato Boldon: I went to UCLA and for me it wasn't any different because my college coach was also my pro coach. But your focus does change when you start doing it for a living!.
PakPassion.Net: What was your weekly training/diet regimen like during your peak? And now? (including off-seasons)
Ato Boldon: I was on the track and in the weight-room four days a week, and eliminated most of what people would consider normal food I was very obsessive about my diet.
PakPassion.Net: Your opinion on the whole doping scandal that has affected athletics? and how frustrating is it knowing that in the past you have had to compete against athletes who have been gaining an unfair advantage through use of illegal performance enhancing drugs?
Ato Boldon: I have lived to see most of them exposed as cheats and it would appear from recent developments that there are still some more to come. So I'll sit back and watch and wait while more of my peers who unfortunately decided to go that route have to account for their actions.
PakPassion.Net: Do you think the governing bodies are strong enough to deal with the drug cheats and their lawyers?
Ato Boldon: There has been much progress made. The hypocrisy and protection of athletes from powerhouse countries in the sport are finally no longer protected, which was not the case for a long time.
PakPassion.Net: Whom would you rate as your greatest and toughest competitor?
Ato Boldon: Maurice Greene was both
PakPassion.Net: How big a shock was it for you when Kenteris won the Olympic 200m title? Did you go into that final thinking it was yours?
Ato Boldon: Kenteris was someone many people suspected of being a drug cheat and he has since been proven to be one. I knew I was in trouble because I was tired from the rounds of the 100m and I knew it would be a struggle for me to win on that night.
PakPassion.Net: How quick are the Saudis you train? Do you think a non Afro-Carribean will win any Olympic sprint events in the near future?
Ato Boldon: I no longer train the Saudis but last year my athlete Yahya Al Gahes ran 6.56 which is a national record, a world class time and the 11th fastest time recorded in the world at 60m for 2007.
PakPassion.Net: I see from your website that you are backing 'Barack Obama' for the Democratic leadership nomination. What difference do you think he will make on the world stage?
Ato Boldon: Barack is attractive to so many because he is the anti-candidate and people have grown weary of different people in charge doing essentially the same thing.
PakPassion.Net: Are you aware of any young talent out there who you feel will become world class sprinters?
Ato Boldon: There are quite a few, most notably Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago who is finishing up his studies at LSU but he already leads the world at 10.00 in the 100m.
PakPassion.Net: Do you agree with the treatment that the likes of Dwaine Chambers and Christe Gaines are receiving after having returned from their doping bans? For example they are unlikely to be invited to most of the European events such as the Golden League?
Ato Boldon: Yes I agree that to move on you must eliminate those who are trying to continue to compete who have served bans for serious violations because they bring only bad past memories to the present atmosphere.
PakPassion.Net: How much of the sport is genetically factored and how much improvement can be made by correct training from a young age?
Ato Boldon: Everyone at the top level is gifted - the difference comes from work ethic and coaching.
PakPassion.Net: Any specific reason for clothing changes compared to 15-20 years ago. does the skin tight shorts make that big of a difference or is this marketing/image related?
Ato Boldon: Yes the technology and research is why people dress differently to sprint. Clothing that holds the muscles compact/tightly achieve better results so because no one wants to lose any possible edge, everyone dresses accordingly.
PakPassion.Net: Ato, you had a hugely successful career, but given the chance what would you do differently?
Ato Boldon: I would have been more calm when the drama occurred with the false starts in the 100m in Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and I would have run only the 200m in the Sydney Olympics and not both the 100m and 200m.
PakPassion.Net: What is with the glasses?
Ato Boldon: That was a way to separate myself from every other sprinter at first glance and that much I accomplished, but it also was easy money. To get paid to wear glasses made huge sense financially