Former Olympians Speak at Chamber Luncheon
Kemel Thompson and Allison Jolly addressed members of the Greater Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce Wednesday.
Former olympians Kemel Thompson and Allison Jolly were the guest speakers at the Greater Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce’s September Luncheon Wednesday, which was sponsored by Pilot Bank and took place at the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club.
The athletes talked about their experiences at the Olympics. Barbara Sparks-McGlinchy, executive director of the chamber, read the following introductions for each of them:
Thompson is the director of the Bulls Varsity Club at the University of South Florida. He is a 1996 USF graduate, and was a world class 400-meter hurdler who competed in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics. He missed advancing to the finals in Athens by one-hundredth of a second.
The native of Jamaica ran a personal best of 48.05 in 2003 was ranked No. 2 in the world that year. Thompson kept a top eight world ranking for five consecutive years before retiring from the sport.
His accomplishments as a USF student-athlete include being the school record holder in the 400-meter hurdles, 4 x 100 meter relay, and 4 x 400 meter relay. Thompson was voted Conference USA MVP where he won the 400 hurdles and 4 x 400 in conference record times. He also was the first strictly track and field athlete to compete at the NCAA Championships for the Bulls.
Thompson, who moved to the United States when he was 11, is a graduate of Gateway High School in Kissimmee. He earned his master’s degree in Business Management in 2003 from the University of Loughborough in the United Kingdom.
Jolly is in her ninth season as head coach of the USF Women’s Sailing Team.
Born and raised in St. Petersburg, she has raced a wide variety of boats here on Tampa Bay, as has raced extensively on three continents.
Her primary focus, though, has been high-performance planing dinghies, light-weight two-person boats that are extremely fast, yet tactical in both their set-up and on-the-water strategy.
She won two Collegiate Women’s National Championship “A” division titles, one while at Columbia University in New York as a Chemical Engineering freshman, the other after transferring to Florida State, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with a minor in Math.
She also won two U.S. Women’s Sailing Championship titles, and was twice named the U.S. Yachtswoman of the Year.
The highlight of her sailing career was winning a Gold Medal at the first ever women’s Olympic Sailing event at the 1988 Olympics in Korea.