Nickel Ashmeade is hungry.
He’s hungry for a place on the medal stand and hungry for success. But Ashmeade doesn’t go hungry at home.
“Cooking is my passion,” Ashmeade said. “That’s my number one passion, apart from track and field.”
The 22-year-old Jamaican sprinter has always known his way around the kitchen. His father was cook. Ashmeade himself has been experimenting with meals most of his life. It’s part of the reason that Ashmeade decided to live and train in the United States at a time when the best of his Jamaican countrymen, like Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, are staying at home.
Ashmeade is part of the rich history of Jamaican sprinting, having competed at St. Jago High School, a virtual sprinting factory, where Ashmeade was teammates with Blake. Ashmeade, who is from Ocho Rios, left home to attend St. Jago because he saw an opportunity in track and field. It’s the same reason that Ashmeade decided to make camp in the United States, because he saw an opportunity for himself in track and field and beyond.
Ashmeade trains with Lance Brauman in Clermont, Fla., at the National Training Center, in a camp that includes Tyson Gay. Ashmeade burst on to the 100 and 200-meter scene last season with bests of 9.96 in the 100 and 19.91 for 200 meters. The young sprinter clocked a personal-best 9.93 on Saturday, June 2, in a loaded field at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon. Ashmeade has begun to carve out a name for himself in a country that includes, in Bolt and Blake, two of the greatest sprinters on the scene today.
Ashmeade said he has never tried to compare himself. He has only looked at his Jamaican teammates as a measuring stick to reach.
“Seeing other athletes perform well, running some exceptional times, I think it’s motivation for me.”
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