It’s no longer news that all is not well between the fastest woman alive, Elaine Thompson-Heran and her coach Stephen Francis. Although Elaine neither confirm it or deny it by saying it’s just that she’s yet to start training. But her coach’s response even compounded their rumours split by answering until he see her in training.
But it’s now looks like the request from Nike for coach Francis to handle Sha’carri may have been the last straw that break their union’s back. Although coach Francis is yet to fully confirmed the request is for Sha’carri.
” I am a Nike coach and … Nike considers me to be their best performing coach and they want as many Nike athletes as they can to get into my training situation,” Francis told the Gleaner.
“All I can say is that Nike has the right to demand; maybe not demand, but advise or request that I coach people that they want me to coach,” Francis added.
He pointed to his programme’s success over the years as a major factor behind the usual requests and shared that the contractual dynamics of Jamaica’s top athletics prospects, many of whom are sponsored by rival shoe companies, result in constant efforts to add to his cohort of Nike-backed athletes.
“Over the years because we have always had success, we won four Olympic 100m gold medals in a row and a whole pile of World Championships (gold medals), so because athletes like those have been present here, we have been able to tell Nike that look, there are a lot of excuses we can give, we can’t really get anybody else here (but) at this point in time, as far as we know, we will have one of those people (international athletes). What I can say is that we are under some amount of pressure to get other Nike athletes.”
When pressed on the identity of the potential addition, Francis stated: “I can tell you when the season starts, who I am coaching, this is always a process, which is in play every year but as long as I have Jamaican Nike people around, we usually stick with what we have.
“What I will say is that Nike has by far the most athletes, certainly among sprinters and at any given time, they can tell me that they would like to see me coach any given person. I cannot at this point tell you, (in fact) I can never tell you who Nike has requested me to coach,” Francis shared.