Shericka Jackson shares her mindset ahead of Paris Olympics Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Five-time Olympic medallist Shericka Jackson fearlessly voiced her ambition to chase the late Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 200m world record in this Paris Olympic season.

Since failing to make it out of the heats at Tokyo 2020, the 29-year-old Jamaican has dominated the half-lap event and made it back-to-back world titles in Budapest on August 25 with a personal best of 21.41. Jackson’s time beat her previous best of 21.45 – the championship record she set when winning in Eugene in 2023. It also edged her closer to Griffith-Joyner’s 21.34 world record from the 1988 Olympics.

Regarding her future goals, including an Olympic gold medal in Paris this summer, Jackson acknowledged that while she hasn’t formally written them down for the year, they are clear in her mind. She remains driven to achieve new milestones, whether breaking world records or reaching personal bests.

“Yes, the world record is on our minds but it’s not something we are going to dwell on every race… Once I’m healthy and once I’m in peak form, anything is possible. I am the athlete, and my coach will prepare me for the right time,” Jackson told the Citius Mag podcast on Monday. “Honestly, I remember when I was afraid to say, ‘Oh I want to break the world record.’ Coach and I had a conversation. He enlightened me about it and whether I speak about it or not and I don’t achieve it, it’s not the end of the world. I think it’s something that we really look forward to. It definitely would’ve been a plus-plus last year and it never happened.”

On September 8, 2023, during the final regular season Diamond League event in the Belgian capital, she narrowly missed breaking the world record once more, clocking a time of 21.48 seconds. Despite falling just short of her personal best of 21.41 seconds by .07 seconds and being .14 seconds away from Griffith-Joyner’s record, her performance set a new Diamond League and meeting record.

Jackson is expected to open her 2024 season on April 6 at the Miramar Invitational in Florida. Jackson hasn’t raced since the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene last September, where she wrapped up her season winning the 100m for the Diamond League Trophy.

Looking ahead, Jackson is eyeing her third Olympic appearance. She previously secured a silver medal in the 4x100m and a bronze medal in the 400m at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Transitioning her focus to short sprints for the Tokyo Olympics, she clinched a bronze in the 100m, gold in the 4x100m, and another bronze in the 4x400m.

Jackson also shared her mindset for 2024 with the Citius Mag podcast, emphasising positivity and determination in training. She emphasised the importance of setting goals, noting that they provide motivation during challenging times and help her stay focused on her objectives.

“My mindset is really, really positive and it’s grounded and it’s happy. I think that’s one of the pluses for me right now…Once you have a positive mindset approaching training each day, I think it’s something that we as athletes look forward to every day,” she said.

When asked about her place among Jamaica’s top female athletes, Jackson humbly recognised the work required to reach greater heights but expressed gratitude for being considered among the best in her country across multiple sprinting disciplines. She values the present while remaining focused on continuous improvement and future successes.

“There is so much work that needs to be done to be even greater,” Jackson told the podcast. “It feels good when I sit down and my name is mentioned among the top greats – especially running the 100, 200 and 400. I don’t dwell on it. Enjoy the moment for me personally.”