Veteran coach Stephen Francis has confirmed he is considering the opportunity to condition a top international sprinter, at the behest of Nike, the US sporting goods manufacturer, which sponsors both Francis and the anonymous athlete. .
Francis, who appears to be on the verge of losing top sprinter Elaine Thompson Herah, who has indicated his intention to quit the University of Technology-based program, admitted he was approached by Nike to condition an international athlete, a event he described as a regular request from his sponsors.
“I’m a Nike trainer and… Nike considers me their best performing trainer and they want as many Nike athletes as possible to come into my training situation,” Francis said. The Sunday Gleaner.
“All I can say is that Nike has the right to demand; perhaps not demanding, but advising or asking that I coach the people they want me to coach, ”added Francis.
He highlighted the success of his program over the years as a major factor behind the usual demands and shared that the contractual dynamics of Jamaica’s top athletics prospects, many of whom are sponsored by rival shoe companies, are leading to losses. constant efforts to add to its Nike cohort. -supported athletes.
RECORD OF SUCCESS
“Over the years, because we have always been successful, we have won four Olympic gold medals in the 100m in a row and a whole series of world championships (gold medals), therefore because athletes as those have been present here we were able to tell Nike it looks, there are a lot of excuses we can give, we can’t really have anyone else here (but) at this point as long as we know we will have one of those people (international athletes). What I can say is that we are under some pressure to recruit other Nike athletes. “
When asked the identity of the potential addition, Francis said: “I can tell you when the season starts, who I coach, it’s always a process, which is played out every year, but as long as I have Jamaican Nike people around me., we usually stick with what we have.
However, with Thompson Herah looking for a way out of the club, a window may have opened for one of Nike’s other big names to join Francis’ training schedule.
“What I will say is that Nike has by far the most number of athletes, certainly sprinters and at any time they can tell me that they would like to see me coach any given person. can’t at this point tell you, (actually) I’ll never be able to tell you who Nike asked me to train, ”explained Francis.
In addition to coaching some of Jamaica’s best internationally successful athletes such as Thompson Herah, Asafa Powell, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Melaine Walker, Kaliese Spencer, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Sherone Simpson, Ronald Levy and many others, Francis has also conditioned several overseas athletes in the past, such as Britain’s Dwain Chambers.
Bajan athlete Sada Williams is currently coached by Francis.
Francis’ schedule, on paper, is separate from the Puma-backed setup of the MVP Track Club, which is run by his younger brother, Paul Francis, and includes well-known names such as Shericka Jackson, Stephenie-Ann McPherson, O’Dayne Richards, Tajay Gayle and Janieve Russell, all sponsored by Puma.