When Usain Bolt ended his acclaimed career, the sport of track and field was faced with one persisting question: who will be the next face of track? On the men’s division, it could be American sprinter Christian Coleman, or perhaps Andre De Grasse of Canada. Or maybe it could be bolt’s fellow Jamaican, Omar McLeod.
McLeod currently holds the world and Olympic championship for the 110 hurdles, and he may just be the one athlete who will be able to follow Bolt’s Olympic success as well as resemble his temperament. According to McLeod, “It’s all about having an image. It’s all about the fans. If you connect with the fans, you automatically win. That’s something I’m trying to do more. It’s a different level to it, taking up that mantle. It can’t be, ‘I run fast but don’t have personality,’ or, ‘I have personality but don’t run fast.’”
He added, “Talent speaks for itself, and I don’t think you should necessarily try to be someone else. But that’s my personality. Just like Bolt, I have an upbeat personality. Being myself is all about that. I always laugh, I always have a joke.”
Change is necessary in order for McLeod to be able to follow Bolt’s footsteps. His post-Olympic stretch was marked by numerous transitions, from changing his training style, his home base, and his coaches, to even shifting his primary focus. McLeod is already known as the World’s top hurdler, but the athlete and his coach, Edrick Floreal, have been focusing their attention this season on sprinting.
Mcleod, 23, and Floreal both agreed on one thing: McLeod’s potential may be put to waste if he focused only on hurdles.
Floreal talked about Mcleod, “He doesn’t want to be known as a guy who just runs the hurdles,”
“In our sport, if you’re just a one-trick pony you’re just a person. But if you’re able to dominate and able to do multiple events, you become a little more marketable. He thought he could leave a bigger mark by doing more events.”
McLeod seems to be positive about the change as well, saying, “I know I can be really successful with it. Maybe it’s a little risky, going from what I do and what I dominate to another event where I’ll probably get beat a couple of times. But that’s OK. I know that I can grow.”