THERE has been an outpouring of sympathy and offers of assistance for 39-year-old Olympian Olivia McKoy who — after representing Jamaica at the national level for 20 years and placed second at the National Senior Championship in June — has been living on the streets and forced to sell bag juice to survive.
Following a Sunday Observer story, which highlighted the javelin thrower’s situation, several individuals have expressed their desire to help the struggling woman, who competed for Jamaica at the Beijing and Sydney Olympics and several Commonwealth and Pan American games as well as other championships in-between.
[Hide Description] Olivia McKoy competing at the Beijing Olympics.
Among those who have reached out is president of the Hydel Group of Schools and former Senator Hyacinth Bennett, who met with McKoy yesterday and offered her a job and the choice of living on the campus of the St Catherine-based institution.
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 was six credit hours to completing a master’s degree in that concentration before returning home.
“I offered her a job here and also she could stay on campus. The sky is really the limit at the Hydel Group of Schools,” said Bennett, who admitted that she was moved to tears as she read about McKoy’s situation.
The Jamaica Observer has also received several e-mails and phone calls from people offering financial assistance and other forms of help, including shelter.
Minister with responsibility for sports, Natalie Neita-Headly, said that she will be meeting with McKoy today to “assess her situation and determine the way forward”.
Meanwhile, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), which McKoy said had helped her in the past, said that it will not be discussing her case in the media.
“Olivia’s situation involves a lot of personal details which I will not discuss with anybody, certainly not the media,” JAAA President Dr Warren Blake told the Observer yesterday.
“I cannot go in public and say what kind of help we will be giving Olivia. That’s her personal business. If she wants to go public and talk about that that’s fine with her, but I cannot do it. People who come to the association for help must be assured that I will not go public and discuss their case with the media,” he added.
He, however, said that like other sporting bodies, the JAAA is constrained by limited funds.
“We are not awash with cash,” he said. “Even to the extent of sending teams overseas we are constrained in the type of teams that we send because we are constrained by funds. There is not a limitless pool of funds to help athletes and to help everybody who needs help.” said
Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Help-for-Olivia_14728522#ixzz2ZrVaJEh8