Warren Weir speaks to the press in Monaco
In addition to being quick on his feet, Warren Weir is an avid football fan and good standard amateur player, cinematographer with ambition of directing his own commercial videos one day and a purveyor of Jamaican culture via a burgeoning T-shirt business.
So finally someone asked the question that had been on everyone’s mind for the first 15 minutes of the press point with the polymath Jamaican sprinter on Thursday (20).
“Just how serious are you about sprinting?”
The reply was unambiguous.
“It’s my bread and butter. Sprinting is my actual career, it’s my focus. If you see me and are talking to me in situations like this, it’s because of my sprinting. It’s my job, my life, my passion,” emphasised Weir, the second fastest man in the world over 200m in 2014 and a member of Jamaica’s world record-setting 4x200m team at the IAAF World Relays back in May.
“Running full speed is just amazing. It’s like driving a fast car. You don’t know who fast you are going until you watch the replay. If there are people in the stands, you don’t hear them. All you hear is the gun and then everything goes silent until after the race.
“One of my goals this year was to finish 2014 with a world record and that came in The Bahamas. One of the reasons that the (4x200m) world record was special was that we did it in the Caribbean, and without Usain.
“This next year, when Usain is fit again, I am sure we can improve it again.
“But one thing I learnt this year was that it’s important to have fun as well. After the Relays I went jet-skiing in The Bahamas, not just a course, we went to several islands, that was the most fun."
Inevitably Weir was asked about how long the shadow was that Usain Bolt, even after an injury-stricken year like 2014, casts over the other fast men from his island.
“I sometimes think ‘God damn, imagine if I was from another country’, but if I was a different nationality, I’d have been a chess player or something, possibly not a sprinter, so I’m pretty happy I’m Jamaican,” joked Weir.
Or, he might have been a footballer, which is one reason why there was some doubt, at least to start with, over where his heart really lies as far as sporting affections are concerned.
“If I wasn’t doing track and field, I tell you I’d do football. I play every now and then on Friday or Sunday, out of season, and I usually play as a forward. My favourite football players are either Didier Drogba or Lionel Messi."
Weir also counts among his friends Liverpool and England international player Raheem Sterling, whom he met at the London 2012 Olympic Games, where the Jamaican caused a slight surprise and picked up the 200m bronze medal.
“Raheem has got Jamaican heritage and we have a mutual friend. He could be a pretty decent sprinter but football speed and track and field is different. He has got some good moves and he could definitely be really quick. The next time we meet up, I’m going to give him some spikes and, if we are near a track, maybe we’ll find out how fast he is.
“However, I think, the two fastest footballers are Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo. I saw Bale’s famous goal last season (again Barcelona in the 2014 Spanish Cup final) when he ran from the halfway line and that showed his speed.”
Mentioning football piqued the interest of all the Brazilian journalists in the room, especially with the Rio 2016 looming ever closer.
“I have been to Sao Paulo, but sadly I’ve never been to Rio," said the affable Weir. "But if I get to Rio I will most definitely visit the Maracana."
Phil Minshull for the IAAF