Jereem “The Dream” Richards returns to the United States today to continue his preparations for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Richards arrived in Trinidad and Tobago on March 6. Never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined he would still be here seven months later. But Covid-19 has challenged us all in many ways, not least of all what our minds are capable of conceiving.
With T&T’s borders closed in response to the global pandemic, Richards was trapped at home, going through the entire 2020 track and field season without an outdoor performance to his name. “I’m definitely disappointed I was not able to compete,” the Point Fortin sprinter told the Express.
The 2020 Olympic Games, originally scheduled for July/August this year, had been pushed back 12 months. Richards, though, kept his eyes on the prize. “I’ve already started my 2021 Olympic preparations.”
The seven-plus months at home, however, have not only been about track and field. On September 20, Richards got married to former athlete, Kayja Thomson.
“She’s now Kayja Richards,” said the reigning Commonwealth Games men’s 200 metres champion. “She’s from south. Being married to my beautiful wife adds a new meaning and focus to my life as an athlete but also as a husband. Some of the biggest benefits of my time being home were being able to start setting up my life for this new journey of being a husband and being a young adult.”
While at home, Richards used his off-track talent to develop Athletic Excellence Trading Cards. The 26-year-old designed more than 80 cards, highlighting the achievements of T&T’s best athletes—past and present. The cards feature digital cartoon character images of the athletes.
Additionally, Richards teamed up with 2013 men’s 400m hurdles world champion Jehue Gordon and retired national athletes Jamaal James and Zwede Hewitt to launch a new online series, “Athlete Talks”.
To date, there have been ten episodes of the show The Sprint Legend Edition, featuring quadruple Olympic medallist and 1997 200m world champion Ato Boldon, was the most popular episode, attracting more than 10,000 viewers.
“I’m definitely happy with the things I was able to do while home,” said Richards. “From getting married to reconnecting with family and friends in such a hard time, and also having the time to start Athletic Excellence Trading Cards and being a part of ‘Athlete Talks’.”