Germaine Mason, the British athlete who won a high jump silver medal at the 2008 Olympics, has died in a motorcycle accident in Jamaica.
The 34-year-old was riding at the front of a convoy with a number of athletes, including Usain Bolt and the 2005 world championship 100m silver medallist Michael Frater, as well as the former Bolton defender Ricardo Gardner, when he lost control of his bike on the Palisadoes main road in Kingston.
Our sincere condolences to the entire sporting fraternity.
— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) April 20, 2017
Unconfirmed reports suggest he was trying to avoid a vehicle that had lost control on the other side of the road. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mason was born in Jamaica and trained with the Stephen Francis-coached MVP Track Club before switching allegiance to Great Britain in 2006. Two years later he won a silver medal for Great Britain in Beijing after jumping 2.34m – a height that equalled his personal best – to finished behind the Russian Andrey Silnov, who cleared 2.36m.
Andrew Holness, the prime minister of Jamaica, tweeted: “Our sincere condolences to the entire sporting fraternity.”
This is just awful. Such sad news. https://t.co/dBECw1WbtF
— Dame Jess Ennis-Hill (@J_Ennis) April 20, 2017
Mason qualified for Britain by virtue of a British father, who, confusingly, lived in Jamaica while his Jamaican mother lived in west London. He held a British passport all his life but decided to switch allegiances after being struck by a serious knee ligament injury in 2004. He made his GB debut in the 2006 European Cup.
Jessica Ennis-Hill posted on Twitter: “This is awful. Such sad news.”
Niels de Vos, the chief executive of UK Athletics, issued a statement on behalf of the governing body which read: “Our staff and colleagues who worked with Germaine are naturally saddened to hear this awful news. Our deepest sympathies go to Germaine’s friends, family and the athletics community at this difficult time.”
Fuzz Caan, the senior high jump coach at British Athletics who worked closely with Germaine at the time of his Olympic success, added: “Germaine was an outstanding athlete and a truly lovely man. He had a wry sense of humour and was a pleasure to be around. He was a great ambassador of British high jumping. It is an honour for us to have him as part of our sporting history.”