Five-time Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah has fired her coach just eight months before she will attempt to defend her Olympic sprint titles in Paris, France next year.
According to her management team, the 31-year-old speed queen parted with Shanikie Osbourne because of requests for too much money.
Shanikie Osbourne, the coach at the centre of the dispute with Olympic champion Elaine Thompson Herah’s management, strongly refuted statements made by the management regarding her compensation for preparing Thompson-Herah for the Olympics in Paris next year.
In a detailed account, Osbourne denied asking for unreasonable levels of compensation and emphasized that she was open to negotiation. She said she had asked for 15% of her earnings and that Thompson-Herah had not said that 15% was out of the question.
However, she said that Thompson-Herah’s husband had then got back to her and said that they could not pay a fixed percentage because of the terms of their contract with PUMA.
Sources close to the negotiations indicated that the sum requested was somewhere in the region of US $ 1 million.
Osbourne was hired in July following Thompson-Herah’s poor performance at the Jamaica national championships where she finished fifth in the 100m finals in 11.06s.
The coach’s impact was almost immediate with the five-time Olympic gold medalist producing five consecutive season-bests – 11.00, 10.92, 10.84 and 10.79 for a third-place finish in the season-ending Diamond League final in Eugene, Oregon.
Things seemed to be going well up late September or early October when negotiations began for a new longer-term arrangement between Thompson-Herah and the coach, who helped her resurrect her 2023 season.
However, on Wednesday, Thompson-Herah’s agents Andi Sports Management released a statement saying that the relationship between the athlete and Coach Osbourne was over.
The Jamaica Observer report that when it contacted Marvin Anderson, head of Andi Sports Management, Thompson-Herah’s agents, he confirmed they had been getting applications but refused to go any further.
“All we can say right now is that we have heard from a number of coaches and we hope to make an announcement soon,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
Anderson would not go into any details as to whether the applications were from local or overseas interests. When asked if the athlete was leaning to a foreign-based or local coach, Anderson was diplomatic in his response.
“We are not going to get boxed down into any location. Mrs Thompson-Herah’s comfort will be paramount in the decision,” he said.
She is the second-fastest woman in history over 100m.
“Collectively, we had no choice but to seek the services of another coach,” Thompson-Herah’s management team said in a statement.
“With the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris fast approaching, Thompson-Herah is fully focused on her preparations for the season and the defence of her Olympic titles.”
While Thompson-Herah has dominated women’s sprinting at the previous two Olympic Games, she failed to qualify for this year’s World Championships in Budapest following an injury-hampered season.
American Florence Griffith-Joyner, who clocked 10.49 seconds in 1988, is the only woman ever to have run faster than Thompson-Herah’s 100m personal best of 10.54 secs.
Sources: BBC, Sportsmax TV, Jamaica Observer.