Thea Lafond Aiming for Gold at Tokyo 2020 | Dominica’s Triple Jump Star

Thea Lafond, One of Dominica’s Tokyo 2020 Representatives, Sets Sights on Gold

Thea Lafond, one of the two athletes representing the nature island of Dominica at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, has her eyes set on the gold medal. The 27-year-old has already made history by bringing home Dominica’s first Commonwealth Games medal in 2018, where she won bronze.

This is Lafond’s second shot at the Olympics, having suffered a hamstring injury that cost her a chance at the podium at the Rio 2016 Games. Now, five years later, her focus is firmly on finishing strong. “My expectations for this Games is to: one, go out there and do my best … and two, the podium,” she tells Loop. “I think going for nothing but gold or if you’re not going out hunting for gold then you are doing yourself a disservice.”

Born and Raised with a Passion for Triple Jump

Born in Dominica, Lafond left the island with her family at the age of five and was raised in the United States. It was during her high school years in Maryland that she discovered and fell in love with the triple jump, a sport that she initially took up as an after-school activity.

“I got into triple jump because actually one of my coaches in high school found out that I was a dancer previously. So, he kind of thought well you know dancers have to jump through the air and such and so triple jump is kind of like three leaps or three jumps so maybe Thea would have the air awareness and quickness off the ground to do it and that’s where it started. I fell in love with it!”

Representing Dominica with Honor and Determination

Currently ranked 12th in the world, Lafond has had the opportunity to switch her allegiance to the U.S. but has remained resolute in representing Dominica. “It’s just a feeling of honour to represent Dominica and also feeling very blessed to be able to have been the first medalist in the Commonwealth Games for the island,” she says.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in strict protocols and limited interaction with the local community, Lafond remains confident that her experience in Japan will be safe. “I have never washed my hands and sanitized this much in my life! There are check-ins at every location, there is constant separation from the main population of Japan and personally, I think that so far so good.”

Seeking Dominica’s First-Ever Olympic Gold Medal

With her personal best of 14.57 meters (47 feet, 9.6 inches), set at the Diamond League Meeting in Doha, Qatar, on May 28, and her unwavering determination, Lafond is ready to give her best performance yet.

“Too often we just think that if we just do or grind over and over again, that we’re putting in the work that good things are bound to happen and that’s not true. You could be putting in the wrong technique day after day and all you’re doing is creating a bad habit. The intention is the most important thing in almost everything you do in life.”

Lafond will first appear in the Women’s Triple Jump qualifiers on July 31, as she seeks to secure Dominica’s first-ever Olympic gold medal.

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