The Germaine Mason story
An edited version of a post from the late athlete’s website.
I broke the school record the first day I started and I went to the (Institute of Sports) All-Age Championships where I met Christopher Harley, the assistant coach of Wolmer’s Boys’ School, and he asked if I wanted to attend Wolmer’s.
I thought about it for some time because I was considering whether I should go to St Andrew Technical High School for which I had passed my technical entrance exams. However, my grandmother Merlyn Mason, persuaded me to attend Wolmer’s, where I met Stephen Francis.
He took me under his wings and taught me the proper technique and how to high jump really good, but I still wasn’t taking it seriously until the year 2000 when I went to the World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile, and won a silver medal. Before that, I was still winning medals at the National Boys’ and Girls’ School Championships, as well as the Carifta Games (Caribbean) and Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Championships.
Even though I looked at it as a profession and a way out, there were still distractions around me; I had a year (2001) when I did not do any track and field at all and then I went to my second World Junior Championships in my hometown at the time, Kingston, and I won a bronze medal. At that point my coach and I sat down and had a long talk about taking it to the other level, moving from being a junior to a senior.
So I came up to the University of Technology where I studied the art and science of coaching (between 2001 and 2003), which I got a certificate in. Then I went to Excelsior Community College to do a prerequisite course for Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, which I only did for one year before stopping because of how my track and field career was beginning to develop.
In 2003, I had one of my best seasons where I broke the Jamaican national record five times, once indoor and four times outdoor, before going to the World Championships in Paris, where I placed fifth. After that I was really ready to take on the world because that was my first experience as a senior athlete. Then I went to the 2004 World Indoor Championships in Budapest, Hungary where I had a career-threatening injury, rupturing the patella tendon in my left knee, which put me out of the sport for more than a year. A lot of people thought that I wouldn’t return to the level that I was, but I was very determined to prove a lot of people wrong.
When I was lying on the hospital bed in Budapest, I was thinking about missing the 2004 Athens Olympics Games and thinking that I’ve come a far way from 2004 to 2008 to win the Olympic silver medal, which Great Britain did not win for 100 years.
Just being at that level, which I always wanted to be at ever since I took up high jump seriously, because I never really saw the world championships or the Commonwealth Games as my main goal. Everything that I did at the Olympics is something that I pictured myself doing four years earlier at the Athens Games.