BIOGRAPHY

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FACTS

Name: Germaine Mason
Date of Birth: January 20, 1983
Place of Birth: Kingston, Jamaica
Height: 1.94 metres (6 feet, 3 inch)
Weight: 87 Kg (191.4 pounds)
Residence: Kingston, Jamaica
Club (s) : Maximizing Velocity and Power (MVP)/Birchfield Harrier Track and Field Clubs
Coach: Stephen Francis 
Event: High Jump
Personal Best(s): 2.34 metres (outdoor), 2.30 metres (indoor)
Parents: Father David was born in London. Mother Carol was born in Jamaica.
Sibling: Three brothers Andre,Maradona and Damion.Sister Simone


International medals:
-    Silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games (competing for Great Britain)
-    Bronze at the 2006 (27th) Spar European Cup Super League in Malaga, Spain (competing for Britain)
-    Bronze at the 2004 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Budapest, Hungary (competing for Jamaica)
-    Gold at 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (competing for Jamaica)
-    Bronze at the 2002 IAAF World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica (competing for Jamaica)
-    Silver at the 2000 IAAF World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile (competing for Jamaica)



World Ranking:


Performances over the years:

2009:

2.31 metres (outdoor)

2008:

2.34 metres (outdoor)

2007:

2.30 metres (outdoor)

2006:

2.31 metres (outdoor)

2005:

2.27 metres (outdoor)

2004:

2.25 metres (outdoor)

2003:

2.34 metres (outdoor) Jamaican National Record

2002:

2.27 metres (outdoor)

2000:

2.24 metres (outdoor)

BIO

Germaine Mason has the distinction of winning global medals for two countries. The 26-year-old captured two medals at the World Junior Championships in Chile (silver 2000) and Jamaica (bronze 2002), as well as a bronze at the 2004 World Indoor Championships in Hungary. He also claimed a coveted silver medal for Britain at the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing, China, having switched allegiance to the home land of his father, David, in 2006.

However, Mason’s trek to international acclaim has not been a bed of roses. The affable high jumper, who was introduced to the event at the tender age of 13 in 1996 by his physical education teacher (Mr. Henry) at Windward Road All-Age School, has had to fight adversity after suffering a career-threatening knee injury in 2004.

Mason was playing basketball when Henry approached and convinced him to turn out for high jump training.

“I broke the school record the first day I started and I went to the (Institute of Sports) All-Age Championships where I met Christopher Harley, the assistant coach of Wolmer’s Boys School and he asked if I wanted to attend Wolmer’s. I thought about it for some time because I was considering whether I should go to the school (St. Andrew Technical High School) for which I passed my technical entrance exams and then my grandmother Merlyn Mason persuaded me to attend Wolmer’s, where I met Stephen Francis,” Mason recalled.  
Prior to Windward Road Junior All-Age, Mason attended Harbour View Primary School between 1989 and 1995, where he participated in football, basketball, as well as track and field.  

“He (Francis) took me under his wings and taught me the proper technique and how to high jump really good, but I still wasn’t taking it seriously until the year 2000 when I went to the World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile and won a silver medal. Before that, I was still winning medals at the National Boys’ and Girls’ School Championships, as well as the CARIFTA Games (Caribbean) and Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Championships,” Mason said, noting that he started to harbour thoughts of making a career as a higher jumper, following his success in Chile at age 17.

“Even though I looked at it as a profession and a way out, there was still distractions around me; I had a year (2001) when I did not do any track and field at all and then I went to my second World Junior Championships in my hometown at the time, Kingston, and I won a bronze medal. At that point my coach Stephen Francis and I sat down and had a long talk about taking it to the other level, moving from being a junior to a senior,” Mason related. “So I came up to UTech (The University of Technology) where I studied the Art and Science of coaching (between 2001 and 2003), which I got a certificate in, then I went to Excelsior Community College to do a prerequisite course for Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, which I only did for one year before stopping because of how my track and field career was beginning to develop,” he said. “So then in 2003, I had one of my best seasons where I broke the Jamaican national record five times, once indoor and four times outdoor before going to the World Championships in Paris, where I placed fifth. After that I was really ready to take on the world because that was my first experience as a senior athlete and then I went to the 2004 World Indoor Championships in Budapest, Hungary where I had a career-threatening injury, rupturing my patella tendon in my left knee, which put me out of the sports for more than a year.  A lot of people thought that I wouldn’t return to the level that I was, but I was very determined to prove a lot of people wrong,” Mason recalled.

“Even the doctor, who did the surgery (Dr John Zvijac), told me I only had a 50-50 chance to come back to the level that I was at but coach Francis believed in me and told me to just be strong and I would get across the barrier which I needed to cross to get back to the level which I was once at.  2005 wasn’t a great year for me financially and there was a mishap between myself and coach Francis where things did not go the way it should have gone for my surgery and then my mother and my brothers had moved from Jamaica to the UK and she told me that I should come and represent Britain,” Mason recalled, adding that his mom had a huge influence on his career because of her support from his days at primary school.

“I thought about what she said and at the time Francis and I weren’t on good terms and I decided to make that switch. Ever since I’ve been there it has been good because the country supports me a lot. I don’t have any thoughts of representing Jamaica again, even though I’m back in Jamaica training with Stephen Francis at the MVP track club again,” he posited, noting that he had worked with the Texas-based American coach Sue Humphrey for a year, on the recommendation of his then agent Cubee Seegobin. Humphrey had guided Charles Austin to the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics Games.
That move did not work out, so Mason moved to London for “three months” before returning to Jamaica to rejoin his long-time coach Stephen Francis. 
“I saw Coach Francis at the London Grand Prix in 2006 and he understood my frustration which forced me to leave initially and we worked out things and made arrangements for my return to Jamaica.”

Mason immediately rediscovered his old form under Francis, clearing 2.27 metres to claim the bronze medal at the 27th Spar European Cup Super League in Malaga, Spain for Britain. 

He had a sub-par season in 2007, failing to reach the final at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan, but rebounded in 2008 to claim the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics, despite competing injured. 

“I was thinking about when I was lying on the hospital bed in Budapest, thinking about missing the 2004 Athens Olympics Games and thinking that I’ve come a far way from 2004 to 2008 to win the Olympic silver medal, which Great Britain did not win for 100 years,” Mason said, adding that it was a dream come true.

“Just being at that level, which I always wanted to be at ever since I took up High Jump serious, because I never really see the world championships or the commonwealth games as my main goal.  Everything that I did at the Olympics is something that I pictured myself doing four years earlier at the Athens Games,” he reasoned. 

Britain had last medaled in the event at the 1908 London Games, where Con Leahy cleared 1.88 metres, earning the silver medal.
Mason, who intends to better his silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics,  has plans to remain in the sport after he retire's from high jump.

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