'Blastoff' Esmie ready to touch down in Sudbury
Olympic athlete returning to Sudbury to impart wisdom to athletes
The man they call Blastoff is getting ready to touch down in Sudbury.
Sudbury's Robert "Blastoff" Esmie — along with Glenroy Gilbert, Bruni Surin and Donovan Bailey — won gold in the men's relay at the Olympics 1996, setting a new Canadian record in the process.
Esmie's racing days are now behind him, but he's still very much involved in the sport.
He is planning on returning to the city that gave him his start on the track, and he's hoping to pass along his philosophy to younger athletes.
It's a change from the competitive days of racing, but Esmie told CBC's Up North he enjoys the challenge of helping athletes learn about achieving their speed.
"Sudbury is like a diamond mine," Esmie said. "There are so many athletes from different sports."
"I want us to create awareness for the opportunity, for these guys to understand no matter what sport you play, speed plays an important part."
"I've always said if someone can find one sport that doesn't involve speed, they get a training program for free. Nobody has come up with one yet," Esmie said.
Esmie's program centres around 'speed,' which isn't just the physical attributes an athlete can possess, but it's also putting several different components together.
But competing at the highest level as an athlete requires serious discipline, in addition to the physical skills. That's something Esmie hopes to impart on his students.
"A lot of athletes, we'll sit down and talk about what they need to achieve," Esmie said. "If the end goal is for them to make a team, or make the championship, we start there and work back. How many months do you prepare? What are you doing for self maintenance, like hot and cold stretching?"
"What are you doing outside of the box to give me the speed?"
With files from Jason Turnbull