BY: CARL LEWIS
Orin Richburg has a plan for success.
When I heard Orin Richburg had been selected as the Relay coach for Team USA I became cautiously optimistic – optimistic because I know he has the experience and knowledge to get the job done, and cautious because I know the status quo will fight the change of direction. After not winning, or finishing for that matter, a World or Olympic Championship in 10 years, I’d thrown my hands up in Rio last summer knowing we were likely to lose again and again.
The Relay isn’t as difficult as people make it seem. It’s just that the lack of technical knowledge and lack of a plan have set our athletes up for failure.
Regarding, the plan, practice isn’t the #1 priority in making great relay passes. Having a successful system is.
I’d been coached by the greatest coach of the 20th Century, Tom Tellez. He had success at every level of coaching, including with the U.S. Team on the international level. I’m now blending his knowledge with my competitive experience and applying it at the University of Houston. Our relay system is proven and it’s still working.
I recently had a long conversation with Coach Richburg and it was clear to me that we’re on the same page. Being a highly successful, now retired college coach, he understands how to pass the baton, He is now implementing a system that can be successful with the USA National team.
Last week, I attended the 1st two relay practices with Team Perfect Method’s LeShon Collins, who is now a member of the Team USA Relay pool. In working with Coach Richburg, the team’s relay coaches, and the relay team, I feel the future is bright.
I understand there will be some growing pains as there are athletes who’ve been in the system for years and may find it difficult to change. But they will adjust, or they’ll be retiring soon. Then I see athletes like LeShon Collins, Jarrion Lawson and Christian Coleman – and countless other young athletes – coming up that will create tremendous success for Team USA in the future.
It’s been a long, frustrating road. But I’m optimistic that Orin’s plan and his assistants can get us back on top of the podium.