Published time: 20 Apr, 2017 16:56Edited time: 20 Apr, 2017 16:58
British high-jumper Germaine Mason has died in a motorbike smash in Jamaica while out riding with sprint star Usain Bolt.
Mason, who won a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, was riding home from a party in convoy with eight-time Olympic champion Bolt in the Caribbean island’s capital of Kingston on Thursday.
The 34-year-old died at the scene after losing control of his bike, with claims he swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle.
Michael Frater, 2005 World Championship 100m silver medallist, was also in the convoy when the accident happened.
Mason grew up with Bolt on the junior athletics circuit in Jamaica before switching to represent Great Britain before the Olympics in Beijing.
He is still the holder of the Jamaican national record in the high-jump, set before he emigrated to the UK.
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Mason was based in Birmingham and told the Birmingham Mail in 2009 how Bolt inspired him.
“When I was in Beijing, what Usain did in the 100 meters opened my eyes up. I used to be one of those athletes who got tense sometimes because I was always so focused,” he said.
“But when I was in Beijing and I saw how much fun Usain was having at the Olympics, which is usually where everybody is super-focused, I just thought that was the way to do it.
“So I just went out there and had the most fun in my life, I just went jumping and enjoyed myself. That’s how he helped me in Beijing, I didn’t say anything to him, it was just from observing him. He made everything look so easy.”
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness tweeted after Mason’s death: "Our sincere condolences to sporting fraternity."
British former sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Linford Christie was among those to tweet his condolences.
“Heart goes out to friends and family of Germaine Mason on this sad day..RIP Germaine. Never forgotten,” he wrote.
Olympic gold medalist Jessica Ennis-Hill tweeted: “This is just awful. Such sad news.”