Former track star Ato Boldon didn’t always have all the confidence in the world before he represented Trinidad and Tobago in the Olympics. The four-time Olympian admitted to using several then-unorthodox training techniques such as plyometrics and recovery practices that propelled him to the next level despite what everyone else told him to do.
As his confidence grew in his craft, so did the results which led him to teaching young student-athletes how to become championship level athletes. After retiring, Boldon wanted to give back his wealth of knowledge as a sprinter to coach the youth how to be the best that they can be.
Boldon held the first-ever DCIAA track and field clinic at Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex on March 7, teaching 200 student-athletes and high school coaches the skills and strategies he used to be one of the greatest sprinters in the world.
Boldon spoke to wide-eyed student-athletes about coaching Khalifa St. Fort in 2012 when he helped her win the silver medal at the 2015 World Youth Championships in Athletics and bronze in the relay at the 2015 World Championships in Athletics.
After delivering powerful motivational stories from his past experiences, Boldon got to work developing the minds and bodies of budding stars in the making. A bevy of Washington, D.C.-based high schools attended the event including Coolidge, Anacostia, Dunbar, Wilson, and Cardozo.
“Track is a foundation for every sport,” Coolidge Track and Field Head Coach Jé Sammy said. “For the last two or three years, we have had kids transition from other sports into track and field. This [clinic] provides an opportunity for them to be exposed to this sport. He [Boldon] is one of my fellow mentors from Trinidad. Him being here is a great thing to expose these kids to this sport.”
“It is an awesome experience for these kids to hear from an Olympic runner who has a wealth of experience to help perfect their techniques as runners,” Eastern Senior High School Head Coach Ronald Nelson said.
Nelson believes this clinic will be a stepping stone for track and field to become more prevalent in the District of Columbia and that it will hopefully grow in the future. “With this clinic, it will be a starting point to help our program to become bigger. It will help our kids to know that they will receive some more attention.”