The crowd roars as the athletes enter the stadium, drums are beating and flags are proudly swaying. Friends are no more; at least for the next few minutes, they will be known only as the competition.
Your name is called, the lights are on, the cameras are flashing and so you acknowledge the crowd; they roar once more. ‘On your marks’ sounds off and soon it will begin. ‘Set’ and a fire and soon it will be over. The commentary is this: Jamaica and USA dominating the speed events once again. The camera zeros in on one and any Jamaican on the track. Now inside the mind of Warren Weir: Focus. Form. Execution.
All that was learnt before now is instilled in his mind and now is his moment. It’s all over; the 2012 Olympics 200m race ends with Jamaica getting a 1-2-3-medal count. The race itself lasts for 19.79 seconds, Weir clocks 19.84 and is now on the map, in the record books and a huge part of Jamaican history; his life alters in waves. For the Olympian Warren Weir, ambition, self-discipline and time management are not new skills, they’ve been honed assets in his field.
His natural talent was noticed from primary school coming straight up to high school. With a stroke of injuries holding him back from then to now, Weir is still a household name and still an Olympian. The rise of Warren Weir as a major talking point amongst the “relevant” media persons has been inspirational, controversial and informative. He has made his voice heard in some unexpected situations, ranging from personal issues to professional matters; Weir at times has overshadowed his own talent. Born in Trelawny and raised in Waterford, the OTB team saw a different side of Weir; describing Waterford as “a bit troubled community”, from a tender age Weir was busy, active and distracted by track and field. A mentality and way of approaching life that has stuck with him till this day, finds Weir using track as a guide in all decisions made in his life. He opts to consider how the outcome will affect him on the track before making a move; a moment to observe his self-discipline. As the interview progressed, we discovered Weir is far more multitalented than he lets on.
His second passion lands in the arts, particularly media and events. Weir has ventured into the realm of drone videography and photography. The major emergence in technique within the video production industry, these past few years, has been shooting aerial footage with drones. Weir caught on early and his reward has been some top clients in his arsenal namely the Port Authority and Digicel. While this might sound relatively straightforward, Weir had to learn the skills on his own or as he puts it “through the greatest teacher of all time: YouTube”. Delving deeper into the arts, Weir and company, decided to get into the event promotion business. Shortly before the 2012 Olympics, plans for the party “SOSA” were underway. With the success at the Olympics, so came the success of SOSA, and now in its third year of execution, Weir’s event planning dreams are well into grow-mode. His passion and creative drive strongly rear through his personality as he speaks about his multi-media ventures. Though fame hasn’t been an easy road. Weir has been left bemused more times than acceptable by the trolls on social media.
Let’s pause for a cause. A troll is a member of an Internet community who posts offensive, divisive and controversial comments. Often, a troll will make obvious and inflammatory statements that are meant to bait (new) users into reacting. This is sometimes called trolling. Thanks TechoPedia. Now with his strong mindset, Warren has been able rise above it all. When they told you being in the spotlight was a tough business to be in, the emergence of social media and the Internet has leveled that toughness. The dark side of social media seems to have him vilified by many of his followers. For the most part, and for his main focus, his fans uplift him.
The question must be asked though, why are Jamaicans incapable of lionizing more than one it person in the same field. We’ve seen this behavior time and time again whether in dancehall music with Bounty Killa vs. Beenie Man, Vybz Kartel vs. Mavado, in politics PNP vs. JLP, through schools UTECH vs. UWI, and in track Asafa vs. Bolt, and of course Digicel vs. Cable & Wireless/Lime/Flow, the list goes on and shamefully so.
There is always someone amidst their success that is targeted aimlessly. Track athletes perform at a grand stage and its unimaginable that trolls would be Jamaicans and anything short of proud. To say the least it is disappointing the extent of cyber-bullying across the globe. Who will stop this, who will save us? Weir has often added fuel to the fire with his event stronger views, case in point Ryan Bailey or his misses at relationship goals. Passionate by nature, Weir commented in his own right on Ryan Bailey’s missing respect to his fellow teammate and track legend Usain Bolt. Stirring the pot Weir and Bailey exchanged “views” via Twitter and luckily the whole thing dissolved after. But Weir has continued to challenge the preference of the masses to keep their views close to home.
Is it all in response to self-expression? Or are the trolls right from the start? There has never been a greater time for this than now that social media offers a voice for the positive and for the negative. As the positive goes, Weir, unlike many celebs, prefers to connect directly with his fans. “(I get) better feedback from fans than friends. (Also) When fans your injured they ask what’s happening and they motivate you cause they see a change in your life”.
A particular helpful support to have on Warren’s comeback to supreme shape. And his response to the trolls, to get a little serious: “we have the same 24 hours, the same blood, we all are given the same life, it doesn’t mean that because I do track you cant find your happy place.” So now, Weir has plenty to prove in this 2016. In the year of the Olympics, the grand stage awaits his return to the track, a business to takeoff, and a few trolls to prove wrong. This superhero will emerge and set out to continue his brink of greatness.