Veronica Campbell-Brown, one of the all-time greats of female sprinting, has revealed that she forged her talents in the intense furnace of competition that is the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships, arguably the biggest high school track meet on the planet.

Competing for Vere Technical High School, VCB won the sprint double twice in her final two years at Champs, adding a relay gold to take the treble in her final year in 2001. Her 100m record of 11.12 set that year still stands. In 2000, she won the 100m and 200m in 11.62 and 23.49 respectively.

However, she had to learn how to win. In 1999, she lost in both sprints St.Jago’s Melaine Walker. Walker edged her in the 100m clocking a winning time of 11.63 to VCB’s 11.65 but she was a more convincing winner in the 200m, clocking 23.71 to VCB’s 23.90.

Campbell-Brown, speaking during a Youtube interview with marketing and public relations consultant Tanya Lee, the Jamaican track icon said competing at Champs was an excellent experience for her.

“It taught me how to run and win under pressure and I think my days at Champs actually helped me in my career because it was so competitive,” said Campbell Brown, who won Olympic gold medals in the 200m in 2004 and 2008, and a 100m World Championship gold in 2007.

She explained that her battle-readiness was honed during those days when Vere and St. Jago High High were engaged in heated athletic warfare.

“At Vere, it was all about us and St. Jago at the time so everything we did was about training and preparing for Champs,” she said.

“Sometimes we would get up at 5 am to train and we didn’t mind because it was all about making the Champs team and when we got there to be able to put on our best show and run as fast and earn as many points as possible.”

She added that the atmosphere at Champs is like no other, including the Olympics and the World Championships.

“The excitement, the pot covers beating, the horn-blowing and all that just gives you that extra energy and to go out there and perform well and make your staff and teammates proud. The energy and the environment is second to none.”

After Champs, VCB would go on to win eight Olympic medals including three gold, 11 World Championships medals inclusive of three gold and two gold World Indoor medals among a total haul of more than 50 international medals won while representing Jamaica.

Source: Leighton Levy