Anthony Watson is an American-born skeleton Athlete who represents Jamaica and competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics, becoming the first athlete to represent Jamaica in the history of skeleton competition. He competed at the Junior Olympics in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay until an injury limited his ambitions in track, after having also raced Semi professionally at collegiate level as well as playing Basketball and American Football. He started training in bobsled with the USA in 2013, before switching to skeleton in 2016 and representing Jamaica. He then competed at the World Championships in Germany in 2017 before making his Olympic debut in South Korea earlier this year.
As a child Anthony grew up watching the legendary Michael Johnson running in the Olympics and right through elementary school and college, Anthony always enjoyed running and was always one of the fastest among his peers. He said Both of his parents instilled in him early the fact that to develop your talent and fulfil your potential in anything you had to practice, practice and practice some more, to the point where Anthony often remembers getting frustrated with hearing it but later would be eternally grateful in knowing that in following that advice, he did everything he could to become an Elite Track and Field and now Skeleton Athlete. Anthony developed his talent in track and as mentioned, was all set for stardom till injury struck. Anthony tried to comeback from that but had lost some of the attributes he would need to excel in track, although the talent and strengths he still had, made his switch first to bobsleigh and then to being a world class Skeleton athlete the perfect fit. Anthony told us that aside from his love for running, two of the driving forces behind his success, had been his faith and a painful past.
While going through schoo,l despite his gifts, Anthony was singled out as a constant target of Bullying, He told us “I never fit into any type of social group. I was constantly harassed bullied and made fun of, whether it was for what I said or the way I laughed or my faith in God and Jesus, so I spent a long time trying to be what I thought people wanted me to be to have friends and for fear of being by myself.” Eventually it got to the point where he started to look for an escape and Anthony said “I didn’t laugh, I didn’t smile, and I stayed as far away from people in fear. The only time I ever felt comfortable was when I was doing Athletics and running in track and the only thing that got me through that period was my faith.”
Anthony told us he grew up in a Christian home and remembers saying a prayer asking Jesus to be his friend and come into his life when he was just 6 but at first, didn’t think it was doing anything, especially in the difficult times. He said he didn’t understand that even at a young age having God as a friend and Father would end up being the most satisfying feeling he could ever experience. As he got older and at 14 he took that faith in God and Jesus a lot more seriously and knows that it was that relationship that got him through many of the really difficult times .
Anthony wanted his experiences and those painful feelings of feeling alone and unloved, to show that, it doesn’t matter where you live, who has hurt you, what your insecurities and challenges are or the differences in you from others, that none of those things can ultimately stop you from becoming successful. He wanted you to know that he believes that there is a God that will be with you in the challenges and difficulties and that he has a plan to change your life for the better, so it can be full of more life than you can imagine.
Anthony’s next big goal is the Winter Olympics in 2022 and to become one of the best. He has a long upcoming season with various races and then the World Championships leading up to 2022 and we hope all the best for the coming months for Anthony and over the next four years.