Articles Comments



Embattled Olympian fine-tuning permanent agreement


SHE has been made several job offers, but for now Jamaica’s Olympic javelin thrower Olivia McKoy prefers to settle with the Hydel Group of Schools.

McKoy, 39, was highlighted in last Sunday’s Observer as being without a job and virtually homeless, and was forced to sell bagged juices on New Kingston’s streets.

 Olivia McKoy

And following an outpouring of support from local and overseas-based individuals and organisations, she has decided to stick with the Hyacinth Bennett-led educational institution, which has also offered her accommodation.

Bennett, a former senator, and now principal of the fledgling Hydel Group of Schools, was among the first to offer support to the embattled McKoy, a single parent who represented Jamaica in athletics for over 20 years.

McKoy believes that the offer is genuine and not a public relations gimmick.

“I don’t think she (Bennett) is helping me because of any show or anything, she really wants to help me,” McKoy said.

“I have prayed to God and asked him for a teaching job, because I was planning on going around to schools before September to see if I could get a teaching job. So I say this is probably where God wants me. Because I have gone to two interviews this week and they didn’t work out, so I’m here at Hydel and this is where I slept the night before and last night. So you could say this is where I am living now. And I feel comfortable,” McKoy, who placed second in the javelin at the National Senior Athletic Championship told the Sunday Observer on Friday.

During last week, McKoy met with other company officials who were interested in offering her jobs.

She also had dialogue with Minister without portfolio with responsibility for sport, Natalie Neita-Headley, who disclosed that a meeting was held on Tuesday to discuss the athlete’s future.

“They inquired of me what they could do to help and so I invited them to come on board,” Neita-Headley told the Sunday Observer on Friday.

I really can’t give you too many details except that we have agreed on a way forward. An offer was made by Ms Hyacinth Bennett of the Hydel Group of Schools. The St Jago family and the JAAA have agreed to assist in providing some of what she is going to require in moving forward almost immediately, and then the position at Hydel would provide her with a job and housing,” Neita-Headley said of the former St Jago High School student.

Olivia McKoy - selling bag juice to a customer

Olivia McKoy – selling bag juice to a customer

Counselling too, was also being offered to McKoy, Neita-Headley said.

“While we recognise that the adjustment process is going to take quite a bit on her part, we have agreed as a government to continue to facilitate her with some counselling because we find that it will be necessary,” Neita-Headley said.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting were Dr Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Vilma Charlton, an Olympian and fourth vice-president of the JAAA, Michael McFarlane, president of the Alumni Association of the St Jago High School, and McKoy.

McKoy, who lived and studied in the United States prior to moving back to Jamaica in 2012 to train, holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Louisiana Tech University and has six credit hours to complete a master’s degree in

that concentration.

In the meantime, Bennett who confirmed that McKoy is now residing on the Hydel campus, said that she is privileged to have the Olympian join her team.

“From the very outset, the Hydel Group of Schools’ mission has transcended a preoccupation with mere academic offerings, to include a deliberate undertaking to operate as a mission field — a refuge and restoration centre, if you will,” Bennett said.

“It is against this background that I have not only offered Ms McKoy employment and a place to reside, at Hydel, but very importantly I am becoming increasingly aware that the attendant challenges, without a doubt, require the intervention of the Lord God,” she said,

As a result Bennett said she seeks the support of everyone.

“I crave the prayerful support, particularly from those who believe that there is nothing too hard for the Lord God to do in an individual’s life,” she said.

“In the meantime, we, at Hydel consider ourselves privileged to be afforded this precious opportunity to do for Ms McKoy, all the good we can, in all the ways we can and for as long as we can. The Hydel community is unwavering in its commitment to be a meaningful enabler and facilitator in Ms McKoy’s journey to that place where she will utilise her immeasurable gifts and talents to impact her world for good,” she added.


McKoy said that a major plus in landing the job is that she will still be able to do her training with the hope of getting back into competition.

She said that she is still waiting to sign off on the necessary documents that will detail her job description which will include being a housemother for the children.

“Once I get my schedule and I set up my timetable I should be able to deal with all of this,” she said.

“I am going to hang on here, and I have asked God that if this is where he wants me, He should ensure that I stay. And so far I am here and I am now just waiting on someone here to give me some documents to fill out. But she (Bennett) has given me her word that I have been employed so I am just waiting to sign some papers and get my job description,” she said.

But McKoy said that the journey continues.

“I am trying to see if I can start all over again,” she said. “Trying to see if I can make the (national) team again and go back to college. Because before I used to say I was too old to go back and finish up my degree. I wanted to become a psychiatric doctor and counselling psychologist, and I was saying that it was not going to happen again, because my life was basically done. But right now I think it is possible, because of what I have been through. I didn’t know I would have been taken out of the condition that I was in. I didn’t have any hope. I was hopeless. Every night I go to my bed I would say this is it God. But now I feel it is possible for me to achieve my goal. Now I believe it is possible,” she said.

Not only has McKoy been given a job and a place to live, but she has been getting assistance from numerous persons in various forms.

She is ecstatic that so much has happened since her woes hit the nation’s hearts a week ago.

“I have been getting calls from a number of people,” she said. “You have one person who has been sending me

words of encouragement on a regular basis, I don’t know who it is, but I have been taking courage from that. You have people dropping off groceries and others things.”

Olivia McKoy selling bag juice in Kingston

Olivia McKoy selling bag juice in Kingston

She said that one government minister even took her shopping for groceries.

“So I was like, my God I never had so many groceries in my life in a long time,” she said with a laugh. “I have had some toiletries and I mean it’s really wonderful. I never know so many people would care. I was out there on the streets and no one recognised me or knew what I was going through. But there I was … my story [was put] out there and people are so willing to help. I am really so very grateful,” she said. “I mean I was out there selling bag juice and it’s a very menial job, especially for someone with a degree, but I just decided I was going to do it. I am assuming nobody who passed me on the road knew me. It was just a different me going out there and starting from scratch.”

McKoy said that she has also been receiving financial help from caring persons for which she is grateful. She also wants those who have helped her to know that she will not make a mess of things and lose her blessing that she has received from God through the kind-hearted public.


Written by


%d bloggers like this: