May 01, 2024

After recent events, Thea LaFond has gone from being a competitor and podium contender to a serious contender for Olympic gold in the triple jump event to be held in Paris 2024, which would be the first Olympic medal for the island of Dominica.

The resounding success at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, where the athlete won the gold medal with a mark of 15.01 meters, joins the unfortunate incident of the injury of the Venezuelan Olympic gold medal winner in Tokyo 2020, Yulimar Rojas, world and Olympic record holder in the discipline, which makes her the favorite to win the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

Gold medalist Thea Lafond of Team Dominica celebrates after winning the Women’s Triple Jump Final on Day Three of the World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 2024 at Emirates Arena on March 03, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Rojas’ Achilles tendon injury leaves the throne of the women’s triple jump empty. The Venezuelan will not be able to defend at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games the gold she won in Tokyo 2020 with a world record, nor the Diamond League title she won in the last three editions.

Now, there is no lack of aspirants to the throne that the queen of the Triple jump will leave free for a few months. Cuba’s Leyanis Pérez and Liadagmis Povea, Spain’s Ana Peleteiro, Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts, Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk, join LaFond.


One of the main candidates is Spain’s Ana Peleteiro, bronze medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, who also trains with Rojas and shares a coach, the multi-champion Cuban Iván Pedroso.

Along with her, both the native of Dominica, Thea LaFond, and the young Cuban Leyanis Pérez, in the end, won the medals in Glasgow.

Standard bearer for her country at the Tokyo Olympic Games, she will go to her third Games with the intention of winning the coveted gold medal and leaving an everlasting mark in an event where there are very talented competitors.

A graduate of the University of Maryland (USA), she appears as the favorite now, after winning bronze at the Pan American Games in Santiago 2023, the victory in Glasgow, improving her personal best by 11 centimeters, surpassing 15 meters (15.01) in a position that with that mark would not only leave the Olympic title in the continent, but would also put the small Caribbean island on the medal map, which would undoubtedly be the greatest sporting feat for its Olympic Committee, formed in 1993 and recognized in 1998.

Dominica participated for the first time in the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996, and has been present in every edition since then.

Although she immigrated to Maryland at a very young age, she has stated several times that she is very proud to come from the Caribbean and to be from Dominica, having represented the island while studying at the University of Maryland, highlighting that she loves her people, hoping to be an inspiration to them, as how much it means to her to have brought to the island the gold medal won at the world championship in athletics, the first in the sporting history of her nation.

From LaFond facing the initial challenges of his career, including coaching changes and technical adjustments, balancing his college teaching with training, allowed him to pursue his athletic dreams full time and by overcoming them, qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympics and subsequent World Championships.

Written by Salvador Almea


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