With three races and three victories, including two world-leading times in the 200m (20.61) and 300m (32.48), 24-year-old Lalonde Gordon is off to an impressive start to his 2013 season. Lalonde, the double-bronze medalist at the London Olympics, is set to run 3 more races this indoor season, with two of the 3 races involving his specialty, the 400m. Gordon has publicly made known his intention of going sub-44 in the 400m this season, and his early season exploits has caught the attention of track and field fans worldwide including the 400m world record-holder Michael Johnson, who recently told the Trinidad media that Gordon is indeed capable of going sub 44.
In addition to his work ethics, his drive and motivation, Lalonde’s meteoric rise can be attributed to his coach Trevor Green, who is orchestrating a plan to land the Trinidad and Tobago native as the number one rank quarter-miler in the world.
Green, the owner and founder of Zenith Velocity Track Club, based in Brooklyn, New York, is very confident that Lalonde will be able to meet his goals. But who is Trevor Green? And how does he feel about coaching one the hottest athletes on the track this early in the season?
Green was born in New York City. His dad is from the United States and his mom is from Honduras. Green was exposed to the sport of track and field at an early age. “My dad was a track coach and I used to go to track meets with him from I was 3 or 4 years old. I know the sport and my dad to me was one of the best technical coaches,” he reflected.
The Birth of Zenith Velocity
Green’s love and passion for track and field lead him to form his track club in 1994. “When I was about 19 or 20 years old I decided to form a track team (the Blazers). I ask my brother to get a few of his friends to join the track club. I got a bunch of kids from the neighborhood. The first few years we got beaten up real bad, because we had kids running around in Air-Jordan,” he recalled.
In the mid-2000, the tides began to change for Green and his track club, as he began to experience some degree of success. Green changed the name from Blazers to Zenith and his fortune took a more positive turn when a young high school sophomore approached him about being his coach. The youngster’s name was Edino Steele. Steele under Green’s guidance excelled, winning the New York State 100m title as well as numerous amateur (AAU) titles. Steele went on to represent his homeland Jamaica in international competition and is currently a member of Racers Track Club in Jamaica.
Over the next several years, Green trained numerous athletes and secretly dreamt of coaching an Olympic medalist. Trevor’s dream became a reality when he decided to coach Lalonde Gordon.
Tears and Sacrifice
Lalonde’s bronze winning stretch run at the London Olympics was a defining moment for Green, who was overcome with emotions and who had in the past toyed with the notion of quitting the sport of track and field.
Green reflected, “when Lalonde came down the final straight-away in the 400m finals, I could not hold back the tears any longer… because over the years I always wanted to coach an Olympian.”
Green who makes a decent living as a New York City fifth-grade school teacher said that he does not do anything half-hearted and that when he makes a commitment to doing anything, he gives 100%.
Lalonde’s magical performance also gave Green the opportunity to reflect on the evolution of his track club from its humble beginning to where it is today.
But Green is not resting on his laurels; he has devised a master plan to ensure that Lalonde continues to succeed.
The master plan
Green is quick to point out that Lalonde has tremendous upside. “He hasn’t gotten to the point where he understands what his talent is as yet. He is still trying to find his way. Mentally, he hasn’t gotten to the point where he understands what a pro-athlete is as yet. I am not talking about his work ethics but I just don’t think he understand what he’s capable of doing.”
Green is confident about his charge and indicates that Lalonde can drop some remarkable times this season. “Honestly I don’t want to talk recklessly or talk crazy but based on what I know, the talent that he has and the speed that he has, I think he can go low 45’s (400m) indoors.”
Preparing for the competition
Green is fully aware of the competition posed by Kirani James, Luguelin Santos, and LaShawn Merritt, who are all gifted with having great flat speed. “We are working on Lalonde foot-speed because getting to the 200m mark in a good position is critical to him having any success against great competition.”
Besides Lalonde, Green also admits that his other favorite 400m runner is LaShawn Merritt, who will be back this year after suffering an ankle injury last season.
Goals for 2013
Lalonde has recently signed a lucrative deal with Nike and no one is happier for him than Green. “I want him to be successful; I want him to make a solid living off of this so he doesn’t have to struggle. The fact that he makes money now is great, because he doesn’t have to stress so much about certain things.”
Green goals for Lalonde includes a number 1 ranking in the 400m at the end of the 2013 season, a world championship medal in Moscow, going sub-44 seconds in the 400m and going sub-20 in the 200m.
When asked whether Lalonde will be pursuing the 200m/400m double this season. Green joked, “Lalonde will focus only on the 400m and will pursue the 200m only if the legend (Usain Bolt) retires.”