As national rower Shahiede Patterson refocuses his efforts to qualify for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games, he says that the unexpected additional preparation time has left him in a better position to challenge for that debut Olympic berth.
At this time last year, Patterson, 21 years old, left for the United States for training in pursuit of his goal of becoming the country’s first Olympic representative in rowing. Two months later, those ambitions were deferred as the coronavirus pandemic postponed his Olympic qualifying event in Brazil as well as the Tokyo Games itself, which forced him to return home before the travel restrictions took place last March. Despite the initial disappointment of having to wait another year to attempt to make history for Jamaica, Patterson says that he has managed to turn it into a positive.
“At first, it was a little bit depressing because you are preparing now, you are a few weeks away, and then just like that you heard that it’s not going to happen,” Patterson told The Gleaner. “But after you sit back and you really think about it, you are saying, ‘I can use it to my advantage. It gives us more time to prepare to do better.’ So, it was more like that for me.”