medallist Ato Boldon gives the thumbs-up to a student after
autographing a poster for him during the Making a Difference
Tour Guardian in Education Project visit to Rio Claro College
Photo: Tony Howell
Retired Olympic medallist Ato Boldon has said he is on a
mission to help anyone who has the passion and drive to
excel in the field of athletics.
Boldon was addressing students of the Rio Claro College
on Wednesday, during the Making a Difference Tour Guardian
in Education Project, which has been taking the former Olympic
athlete, national cyclist and painter Michael Phillips and
Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam to schools throughout
West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara and Olympic swimmer
George Bovell will join the other three celebrities soon,
to share their life experiences and how they overcame challenges
throughout their careers.
Students will then be asked to submit essays on the motivational
talks for a chance to win prizes.
Boldon said it might have taken him a while, but in the
last ten years, he realised there were two types of people
in the world, those who were front-liners and others who
He also told the eager students the most important thing
they would ever do in their life was to help another person.
He said this was what a front-liner did, while those who
stood on the sidelines were the ones criticising the good
work of others.
Boldon said it was for this simple reason he was willing
to coach, advise and develop future Olympic stars.
always said that I was going to run as long as it took for
the next generation to be establishedDarrel Brown,
Marc Burns and these other guys are well on their wayI
thought I was not needed any more, he said.
know what? I thought I couldnt deal with the madness.
To be honest, I thought it was a big break for me...They
always had a problem with me. Ato talk too much, Ato
this, Ato that.
what does that make me? A side-liner.
Boldon said he had gained too much experience in his sprinting
career to turn his back on the people who needed him the
are things in track and field that many people dont
Boldon admitted to the student body that he had another
topic planned for them, but when he saw the courage of a
group of students who performed to Gloria Estefans
hit song Reach, at the beginning of the proceedings, he
He said that was what he meant by being a front-liner.
Boldon, whose athletic ability was spotted while he was
playing football in the United States, told students whatever
they might choose as a career, they should not make it a
He said when success was achieved, many might face criticism
by side-liners. He said it was Lara who told him to brush
off the criticism and keep going.
is the best revenge, Boldon said.
Phillips had earlier told students they had to conquer their
fears while dreaming. He said he would cringe once the lights
came on at the stadium before every race he took part in.
before talking to you here today I got nervous...but the
more I do it the better I feel, Phillips said.
want you to understand that you have to build character.
I want you to have confidence in yourself. There are many
opportunities around you, but it is for you to open those
Phillips also advised them that once they were faced with
negativity, they had to seize that opportunity and rethink
their plan into a positive one.
talent you have...you can turn it into a business.
Principal of the college Reynold Sibaran congratulated Boldon
and Phillips for their contribution to the society, saying
the country was very fortunate to have not just one, but
two male role models.
He made reference to a conference held earlier this week
by the Caribbean Union College, where a retired school principal
claimed schools were breeding grounds which cultivated criminals,
and there was a serious absence of male role models in the