Still running a good race
by Vince Rankine
Twenty years ago at the Atlanta Olympics, history was made in men’s track and field. The Canadian 4×100 metre relay team consisting of Robert Esmie, Glenroy Gilbert, Bruny Surin and Donovan Baily won the Gold Medal handing the United States their first loss in the international competition. Looking back at his accomplishment, Robert Esmie, who now lives and coaches in Surrey, BC, says he’s “blessed” to have achieved that feat and reached all that he has in his life.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica and moving to Ontario, Canada in 1984, Esmie realized at an early age that he was very fast. At 16 years old, he entered an all city track meet and won seven out of eight events. After that Esmie’s love for the sport of track and field grew while living in Sudbury, Ontario. Within a few years of serious training, he quickly developed into one of the top young sprinters in Canada and in 1992 at age 19, Esmie secured a spot on the Olympic team heading to Barcelona, Spain. Three years later at the world championships in Gothenburg, Sweden, Robert Esmie won his first international title in the men’s 4×100 metre relay team. A year later, the same team would duplicate the feat at the Atlanta Olympics.
Fast-forward two decades later, and after retiring from the sport of track and field in 2004, Esmie admits he has “fallen in love with the sport once again.” He’s now giving back to the sport by coaching the South Fraser Track and Field club. Esmie is using all his years of experience in training and competing to nurture the next generation of young athletes so they can reach their highest potentials. He also owns a business called Air Blastoff where he is referred to as the “Speed Doctor”, because of the business’s purpose to help individuals improve their speed, so they can accomplish their fitness goals.
Reflecting back on all his accomplishments and successes in life, Esmie admits it has not affected his life that much. His faith in God has kept him grounded. He uses a simple motto to help him in life’s challenges: Fear, Frustration, Faith, Focus, and Favour. He uses these words to overcome difficulties and to accomplish his goals in life. Currently Esmie attends Calvary Worship Centre church in Surrey, with his family. He firmly believes that faith and family are the two main focuses in his life. Esmie shares he still has room to improve in his walk of faith. “I honour the Ten Commandments, but I still have struggles in some areas of my life as some Christians do,” he says.
As the track season gets under way and the Summer Olympics 2016 in Rio are quickly approaching, Robert Esmie believes Canada will do okay internationally. He says a lack of funding in the sport has hampered Canada’s chances of gaining more medals. When asked about predictions for the Olympics, Esmie believes the Jamaican team will continue to dominate the sprints and sprint relays.