Feature
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange (right), looks on as Olympian, Veronica Campbell-Brown (centre), is greeted by Principal of the Vere Technical High School, Antoinette Banton Ellis (left). They were at a ceremony at the National Stadium in October to unveil a statue in honour of the Olympian. In the background is Mrs. Campbell-Brown’s husband, Omar Brown.
Photo: Donald De La Haye

Story Highlights

  • Stakeholders are describing Jamaican Olympian, Veronica Campbell-Brown, popularly referred to as ‘VCB’, as a positive force from which the youth can gain inspiration and achieve their goals.
  • An official statue in her honour, moulded by renowned sculptor Basil Watson, was unveiled at Statue Park at the National Stadium in October.
  • Former Principal of Troy Primary School in Trelawny, Clayton Collins, tells JIS News that the athlete’s humility and dedication have paid great dividends.

Stakeholders are describing Jamaican Olympian, Veronica Campbell-Brown, popularly referred to as ‘VCB’, as a positive force from which the youth can gain inspiration and achieve their goals.

An official statue in her honour, moulded by renowned sculptor Basil Watson, was unveiled at Statue Park at the National Stadium in October.

Former Principal of Troy Primary School in Trelawny, Clayton Collins, tells JIS News that the athlete’s humility and dedication have paid great dividends.

He recalls VCB’s performance in 1993 after she won a gold medal at the National Stadium in the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) National Primary, All-Age Junior Athletic Championships.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange (right, background), along with Olympian, Veronica Campbell Brown (third left, background), and Principal of Troy Primary, Karen Frater (front, left), with students at a ceremony held at the National Stadium in October to unveil a statue in honour of the Olympian.

 

“It all started there, and she never looked back. It was an awesome celebration. She always wanted to run, and you could see from the initial stage that her potential was great,” he says.

Principal of the Troy Primary School, Karen Frater, tells JIS News that the students present at the unveiling are now excited for their next sports day.

“A lot of them see her as their role model,” she informs, adding that the students also said “someday soon they will be recognised internationally as well”.

The Principal also urged past students to remain connected with their former schools, “especially if it had something to do with their development”.

“It may not be what you have to offer; your presence and association will make so much a difference to the students attending the school,” Ms. Frater outlines.

The primary school is to be renamed the ‘Veronica Campbell-Brown Primary School’ in the future. It is one of the Jamaica 55 Legacy Projects.

The Olympic athlete attended the school before moving on to Vere Technical High School in Clarendon, where she completed her secondary education.

Principal of Vere Technical High, Antoinette Banton Ellis, says Veronica Campbell-Brown has always been involved with the school, noting that she did a 5K Run there in 2017.

“She is that type of person that you can reach out to anytime. She has committed to work with the school, especially the young ladies, to motivate them [and] for that we are very grateful.

Whenever time she visits the school it is like having one of those big entertainers coming around,” the Principal says.

In 1999, while attending Vere Technical, the then Ms. Campbell, became the first Jamaican to cop a global 100-metre title, doing so at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Youth Championships.

The following year, she became the first female to win Gold medals in both the 100 and 200 metres IAAF World Junior Championships.

Mrs. Campbell-Brown won her first of seven Olympic medals at the Sydney Games in Australia in 2000 and, in the process, became the youngest Jamaican female to win a medal in the quadrennial sporting spectacle.

Meanwhile, the Olympian has decided to give back to Jamaica, with the establishment of the VCB Foundation.

The Foundation provides financial support and mentoring to girls attending Vere Technical High School, St. Andrew Technical High School and Troy and Erwin High Schools.

Opposition Spokesperson on Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sport, Denise Daley, shares that the Foundation shows the athlete’s “commitment to the community and her contribution to nation-building”.

“Jamaica’s youth need more role models like VCB. I hope the young people of Jamaica will look to her for inspiration and fire up the talent that lies within them,” Ms. Daley says.

Meanwhile, President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Christopher Samuda, says Mrs. Campbell-Brown’s “legacy is not only her sprint and deeds but her work on the vineyard”.

For President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Dr. Warren Blake, he believes that VCB will remain an icon of inspiration to a new generation of track and field stars “now and down through the ages, to become the best that they can be”.

In 2009, the athlete became the first to be designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as Champion of Sport in the Americas.

Director and Representative of UNESCO’s Kingston Office, Katherine Grigsby, says through the Foundation, VCB has turned her vision and commitment to reality, in assisting and uplifting young women.

“Her commitment speaks volumes to the roles that we all seek to enshrine – fair play, equality, respect and solidarity. Through her actions and incredible achievements, she has become one the symbols of the spirit of global youth, united in their determination to push the boundaries of achievement, rise above uncalculated obstacles, and overcome biases,” the UNESCO Director states.

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