First time Olympian Candice McLeod has an indomitable spirit. First of all, the University of the West student-athlete trains alone. She has endured an eventful two years, starting with finishing eighth in the final of the 2019 National Senior Championships in 2019.
On the last morning of the 2021 Jamaica Olympic Trials, McLeod not only booked her ticket to the Tokyo Olympic Games but joined an exclusive club, becoming the ninth Jamaican woman to complete the 400 metres in under 50 seconds with a time of 49.91.
The final won by Stephenie-Ann McPherson in a lifetime best 49.61 seconds.
It was the first time two women had gone under 50 seconds at the National Senior Championships.
“I knew once I had the proper execution, it would be good as I am in great shape. I did this for my coach (Fitz Coleman),” she said.
“I know most times he’s (Fitz Coleman) not feeling well, but he came out to training nonetheless. I knew I had to make the sacrifice for him, and although I did not win, it feels like I did.”
McLeod, who revised her personal best no fewer than six times this season, gave credit to an unlikely factor in her success. “Honestly, this might sound weird, but I want to say thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. It gave me the time to sit and reflect on myself and reassess where I am going and how to get there,” she opined.
She added, “I trained non-stop throughout the entire 2020 season, despite not knowing what the future holds. I got some rest and came fully prepared mentally and physically. I came with my whole heart for the 2021 season, and I am reaping the rewards.”
McLeod has a strong support base, including both moms – Marcia (biological) and Shanikie Osbourne (high school coach). She has vowed to make them proud in Tokyo.