Former Olympic bronze medallist Ato Boldon is swamped by autograph seekers during his visit to Presentation College, San Fernando, for the Guardian in Education tour on Wednesday.
Photo: Tony Howell
By Leah Mathura-Dookhoo
While his main goal in life was to bring home an Olympic gold medal for T&T, Ato Boldon said on Wednesday he had no regrets representing the nation over the past 12 years.
As a matter of fact, the sprinter believes he is well within his right to celebrate his achievements, despite criticism.
While everyone was partying, I was training, so when the critics say anything about me, I really dont take them on, he said.
I dont have a gold medal, but I cant worry about it, because I know that I have done well. I have learnt to live with criticism because its human nature to tear down what boggles the mind.
Boldon was speaking to scores of students from Naparima Boys and Girls Colleges and the hosts, Presentation College, at the schools Carib Street, San Fernando auditorium.
He was there for another edition of the Guardian in Education tour.
Boldon, national cyclist Michael Phillips, former Miss Universe Wendy Fitzwilliam, Olympic bronze medallist swimmer George Bovell III and cricket star Brian Lara, are also part of the tour, which takes the participants to schools across the country for a series of motivational sessions with students.
The project is endorsed and supported by the Ministry of Education, and is sponsored by the National Gas Company, RBTT, BG T&T, Guardian Holdings Ltd and YARA.
Boldon told the large gathering that every time he wore the countrys national colours during a race, he was always aware of the consequences if he won or lost.
I used to always dream that if I failed, I will be stoned down on the Brian Lara Promenade and I didnt want that to happen to me. You know the kind of demanding society we have? he said
But you know what? I had my time and I did the best I can and I am extremely proud of what I was able to do.
Boldon explained that his greatest motivation was knowing that he was given an opportunity not many had received, and he had to make the best of the situation.
He also said while other athletes may have cheated over the span of their career, he was proud to be the holder of several medals, which he accomplished with integrity.
I really wanted to stay on the right path, rather than bring the country into disrepute. Your reputation is all youve got, he said.
Boldon, who lives next door to chart-topping pop diva Toni Braxton and popular American comedian Chris Tucker in Los Angeles, told the students that self-discipline was all they needed to be successful.
He said he had learnt from his neighbours, including his dear friend and LA Lakers basketball star, Kobe Bryant, that ability, coupled with sacrifice could propel people into unimaginable things.
All it really takes is three or four years of sacrifice to reap real rewards, he said.
People who succeed make the uncomfortable, comfortable and the inconvenient, convenient. Do not live to tell the stories of regret.
Each school received a Spalding basketball for its physical education department and a career handbook for the library, from the Trinidad Guardian.
Boldon also told students that he would launch his acting career next year.
In his first film, Boldon will star alongside Hollywood mega star Bruce Willis in the production of the action comedy, The Last Resort.
Boldon said he would play the role of Jack Johnson, a policeman.
Only recently, Boldon began his broadcasting career with CBS and received his pilots licence in Los Angeles, California, USA.